Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
It is my pleasure to share with you the incredible story of Amnon Weinstein and Violins of Hope. Amnon is an Israeli violinmaker who has devoted the last 20 years to locating and restoring the violins of the Holocaust as a tribute to those who were lost, including 400 of his own relatives. He calls these the Violins of Hope.
Rachel Hoffer and Julee Landau Shahon have worked tirelessly over the past three years to bring Violins of Hope to our community. In February and March, we will have the opportunity to enjoy over 25 events, including concerts, lectures, recitals, two fantastic exhibitions and much more.
I invite you to watch this video to learn more about this amazing project of Federation and the story behind the violins and to attend the many outstanding events.
This week’s Torah portion is Beshalach (Sent Away) in Exodus. Soon after the children of Israel flee Egypt, Pharaoh pursues them to the Reid Sea, where G-d instructs Moses to raise his staff. The sea splits, allowing the Israelites to escape as the water crashed down to drown their Egyptian pursuers.
With anti-Semitism and hate crimes on the rise, the story of Beshalach intertwines with the story of Violins of Hope. It is a reminder that even in this modern day, we must remain diligent, for there are those who still wish to destroy us. It is also a reminder of our strength of spirit and how we as a people continue to prevail over our enemies.
These violins gave those suffering in the Holocaust comfort and created a sense of civility and humanity at a time of seeming hopelessness. In some ways, they were the modern-day staff that Moses lifted causing the sea to split.
Violins of Hope is just that, a message of hope for a future where diversity and differences are valued and coexist in peace. I hope that I will see many of you over the next few months during our many offerings.
In the meantime, I wish you a Shabbat Shalom.
Chief Executive Officer
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