The Center for Holocaust Education and Human Dignity of the East Valley JCC is honored to be one of more than 100 organizations worldwide participating in a live-stream concert this weekend that commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 77th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, even as it speaks to the challenges of the current moment.
“We Are Here: A Celebration of Resilience, Resistance, and Hope,” a special livestreamed concert event presented by the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, Sing for Hope, and Lang Lang International Music Foundation, will be held this Sunday, June 14 at 11 a.m. (Arizona time).
The four leading New York City-based institutions have enlisted an international network of more than 100 supporting museums and partner institutions – from 26 states and countries, including Belarus, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland and South Africa – to show the 90-minute event, which will be livestreamed and available to watch for free at wearehere.live.
Renowned actors, musicians, and civic leaders who will be featured in the event include: EGOT-winner Whoopi Goldberg; four-time Grammy Award and National Medal of Arts-winner, star soprano Renée Fleming; Grammy Hall of Famer and Tony-winner Billy Joel; world-renowned pianist Lang Lang; the iconic Dr. Ruth Westheimer; Emmy- and Tony-nominated actress Lauren Ambrose; multi-platinum, Tony-winning Broadway star Lea Salonga; multi-Grammy-winning opera star Joyce DiDonato; award-winning actress Mayim Bialik; acclaimed soprano and curator Julia Bullock; conductor and pianist Christian Reif; Broadway actor and Lucille Lortel-winner Steven Skybell; multi-Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard; internationally renowned baritone Lester Lynch; Broadway star Jelani Remy; award-winning comedienne Jackie Hoffman; Broadway veteran and international opera singer Elmore James; beloved klezmer singer Daniel Kahn; 2020 Grammy-winner John Brancy; pianist and NPR From The Top host Peter Dugan; Congregation Rodeph Sholom Cantor Rebecca Garfein; Yiddish singer Sasha Lurje; celebrated Yiddish theater performer Dani Marcus; Yiddish Fiddler star Rachel Zatcoff; Congregation Rodeph Sholom organist J. David Williams; New York City Opera and Yiddish theater performer Glenn Seven Allen; accordionist and composer Patrick Farrell; internationally recognized soprano Jennifer Zetlan; renowned operatic and new music interpreter Blythe Gaissert; pianist and conductor Gerald Steichen; pianist and musical director Thomas Bagwell; National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek; and acclaimed sopranos and Sing for Hope Co-Founders Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora. A special feature of the program will be the world premiere of a new work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano based on a text by Kitty O’Meara, to be performed by Ms. Fleming.
“We are all inspired by the example set in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Partisan Song, which begins and ends this program, speaks to the fight for social justice and fundamental human rights,” said Bruce Ratner, chairman of the board at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
“One of the museum’s goals is to produce high-quality programming and content with our partners on an ongoing basis around Jewish historical, cultural and educational themes, and their relevance to critical contemporary issues,” said Jack Kliger, president & CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “With this program we hope to make our contribution to the tradition of resilience, resistance, and hope.”
“Both the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the centuries-old pandemics of racism and anti-Semitism highlight the need for resistance and resilience,” said Sing for Hope Co-Founder Camille Zamora. Added Sing for Hope Co-Founder Monica Yunus, “As we seek to listen, learn from, and serve our communities in the days ahead, thoughtful organizational partnerships will be key. It is an honor to unite artists and stand together as allies with a global network that fosters resilience, resistance, and hope.”
“In this time of rising anti-Semitism and global crisis, the themes of resistance, resilience, and hope are more important than ever, and the Partisan Song takes on even more resonance,” said National Yiddish Theatre Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director Dominick Balletta. “The song begins with the words ‘Never say this is the final road for you,’ and ends with the words ‘We Are Here.’ It is the song that binds together those who fight for justice.”
The program also will feature an interview by The Forward Editor-in-Chief Jodi Rudoren with Nancy Spielberg, Roberta Grossman, and Sam Kassow about their film Who Will Write Our History, which chronicles the story of Oneg Shabbat, the group that daringly preserved the history of the Warsaw Ghetto. The Forward is the event’s media sponsor.
The four organizers have enlisted more than 100 other organizations across North America and abroad to present the afternoon event. You can view the list of all participants here.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising — in which 13,000 Jews died fighting Nazi oppression in April and May 1943 — was the largest single act of resistance during the Holocaust. The Uprising was the inspiration for “Zog nit keyn mol” (Yiddish: “Never Say”), also known as the “Partisan Song,” which was written in 1943 by Hirsch Glick while he was in the Vilna Ghetto. The song, which exemplifies Jewish resistance to Nazi persecution, provided the initial inspiration for the June 14 concert event, and resonates today with themes of resistance, resilience, and hope.