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Remembering Together: 41st Holocaust Remembrance Service to be Hosted at LSUS

On May 5, the 41st Holocaust Remembrance Service of Northwest Louisiana will be hosted on the LSUS campus.

On May 5, the 41st Holocaust Remembrance Service of Northwest Louisiana will be hosted on the LSUS campus.

Rabbi Janna de Benedetti of the B’nai Zion Congregation is heading the event with help from Dr. Kenna Franklin at LSUS and Barbara Joseph of the North Louisiana Jewish Federation. Rabbi Janna says the service will be a time where the Shreveport-Bossier community can come together.

Rabbi Janna A lot of the service. the process itself- we have a service that includes musical pieces that help reflect the mood of remembering and hope. We have prayers by local clergy. One of the the highlights of the service includes that we light 11 candles representing the 11 million people who were murdered during the Holocaust. Because it wasn't only 6 million Jews, but 5 million others were murdered. The Nazis targeted a number of different groups, and we try to acknowledge them all. So we have leaders in our community who light individual candles to represent some of those groups. So for example, LGBTQ+ community and other religious groups and disabilities; there were a lot of things that were being targeted during the Holocaust, and we try to honor their memory and we light the candles for that. 

Not only is the service open to all members of the Shreveport-Bossier community, but it encourages local students to be involved through a competition.

Rabbi Janna Over the past few decades worth we have had a literary and arts competition. High school students and Middle school students get an opportunity to submit their original work to try to reflect on certain aspects of what happened during the Holocaust. For the most part over the years the middle school students have been asked to focus on the heroes. So, trying to let them know that they can step up and be heroes themselves. And then the high school students get to look at some of the horrible things that have happened. They are given opportunities in a variety of different artistic ways to reflect on these things. 

The judges select three winners for each category, and the winners receive a variety of prizes. The first place High School winner will be awarded $400 and gift cards, and the Middle School first place winner will receive $200. To Rabbi Janna, this part of the service is more than just a competition.

Rabbi Janna This is one of the worst atrocities that has ever happened to humanity by humanity, against Humanity. And we are finding that even in our day and age, even when there are still some survivors alive today, that there are people who are denying that the Holocaust ever happened. That the Nazis ever targeted people. And it's really important that we not forget. It's really important that we know as a society that we can stand up and we can be brave for each other. And that we call out what's right and what's wrong. It's a priority for us that the students in our world know and learn about this so that they don't let this happen again.

The service will be in the LSUS University Center Ballroom at 3 PM. Rabbi Janna encourages anyone from the community to come for a time of reflection and remembrance.

Rabbi Janna Everyone has something different that they find to be the thing that touches them that year. And each year our service has some more components but each year it's a very different service. So it is hard to say what is going to touch someone the most on any given year. And I I know people who only go once and find things in it that are very inspiring and I know people who come every year and find different parts inspiring. And I think it would be difficult for anyone to say what was the thing that meant the most to them. Some of it will be the sadness of the loss and some of that will be the hope for the future.

This is Alaina Atnip with Red River Radio News.