Jewish spirit shines bright

Music used to share stories of the Holocaust

More than 100 guests filled an Annex church Nov. 1 to listen to Holocaust survivor Jenny Eisenstein sing songs from a time of great sadness and loss.

Accompanied by Armenian pianist Anna Vanesyan and 12-year-old cellist Omer Strumpf, she belted out songs from the time of the Holocaust at the Anglican Church of the Messiah. Some in the audience wept while others closed their eyes, losing themselves in the melodies. The depth of the music reverberated through the hall, the sorrow and grief almost tangible.

The event, dubbed a Musical Presentation of the Jewish Spirit, marked the first day of Holocaust Education Week, which runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 11.

The idea behind the event was to use music to bring people of different faiths and generations together to reflect on a dark period in world history, said Karen Fainman, an event organizer.

“The church was very receptive to the idea,” said Fainman. “It was a perfect place for such a thing.”

At the age of 15, Eisenstein was held prisoner in the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

A Yiddish and Hebrew folk singer and interpreter of poetry and music from the Holocaust, Eisenstein tries to educate people about the war.

“I want to bring the message to the people,” said Eisenstein. “Any person that survived, we all try to remember, to teach the children, teach the world how tragic it is to be caught in a war and not be able to pursue your life’s dreams.

“I want to give the spirit of life and appreciation of life to my audience.”

Holocaust Education Week events give people s a chance to examine hatred and see what it looks like, said Fainman.

“It’s about reminding people what’s right and what freedom is.”

About this article:

By: Nicole Miller
Posted: Nov 4 2009 2:05 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto