Joshua Korenblit, 26, lit a candle Sunday in memory of his zadie and bubbie — his beloved grandparents the late Majir and Manya Korenblit — who survived the horrors of the Holocaust.
“It was a great feeling that he is now making sure the commemoration continuities to always remember his family and everybody who died in the Holocaust,” said Joshua's father, Michael Korenblit, of Edmond.
The younger Korenblit was one of several grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who participated Sunday in the 2013 Holocaust Remembrance Program at Bethany High School, 4500 N Mueller. About 300 people attended the annual program sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City.
The link connecting generations was a powerful theme woven throughout the program as metro-area students paid tribute to their counterparts who experienced the Holocaust in a moving dramatic reading. Organizers said an estimated 1.5 million children were killed by Nazis during the Holocaust.
During the dramatic presentation, it wasn't hard to imagine a young Jewish girl or boy sharing their hopes and dreams and fears and sorrows as the Nazi regime made its insidious climb to political power.
The metro teens, speaking the words of young Jewish teens, talked of running track, participating in Hannukah plays and playing games in the neighborhood streets with other youths. Then came the injustice of being banned from public sports and riding trams, book burnings and being required to wear a “Jew badge” letting others know of one's Jewish identity.
The struggle for survival as friends and relatives disappeared, never to be seen again, and the indignities of the concentration camps also were explored.
One of the drama's participants Wesley Evans, 16, a Chandler High School student, said he felt honored to be a part of the program.
‘A great experience'
“It was a great experience,” Evans said. “The main reason is just to remember and to know that those were things that really happened.”
Other dramatic reading participants included Aaron Charnay, Chelsey Goldsmith, Haley Karchmer, Hallie Hart, Mitch McFarland and Hannah Youngblood.
Ruth Charnay, who with her husband, Richard, served as artistic directors of the production, said the script was taken from several books written by or about Holocaust survivors, including “Through Our Eyes: Children Witness by the Holocaust” by Itzhak Tatelbaum and “Until We Meet Again: A True Story of Love and Survival of Six Concentration Camps” by Michael Korenblit and Kathleen Janger.
“It was a unique perspective,” Charnay said.
Edie Roodman, the Jewish Federation's executive director, said she enjoyed the presentation and was moved to tears several times. She said she was especially touched when her daughter, Erielle Roodman Reshef, lit a candle in memory of her relatives and Holocaust survivors, Akiva and Aviva Goldstein Reshef.
“That added an extra dimension for me,” Roodman said.
In addition to grandchildren and other relatives of Holocaust survivors, other candle lighters included metro students whose schools have taken special interest in the Holocaust and lessons learned from it. They include: Santa Fe South middle and high school, Del City High School, Bethany High School and Edmond Memorial High School.