Shalom Life | December 20, 2014

Holocaust Survivors Go Back in Time to Enjoy Their Stolen Youth

Survivors Kick Up Their Heels at Third Annual Yellow Rose Senior Prom

By: News Staff

Published: June 28th, 2012 in News » World

Holocaust Survivors Go Back in Time to Enjoy Their Stolen Youth

The Yellow Rose Project recently held its 3rd Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life at Toronto’s Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue.

The initiative was created to give Holocaust survivors, many of whom never had the chance to enjoy a senior prom of their own, let alone their youth, that experience, albeit some six decades after the fact.

The dance floor was alive with the footsteps of Holocaust survivors who danced alongside 100 young adults and devoted volunteers, who did everything in their power to ensure they were having the time of their lives.

“I know what the word freedom means, but I never knew what it felt like, and tonight, I know…we never imagined us Holocaust survivors would live this long and be able to celebrate like this,” gushed Jenny Eisenstein, a survivor who made it through the horrors of the Holocaust with her sister Regina.

“I am so impressed by how organized the young people were and that they would do this for us,” shares Sally Rosen, another survivor who attended prom. “It’s so nice to know the young people love us!”

As you can imagine, making this event a reality requires a tremendous amount of work – and cooperation. Seeing this special evening to fruition took some five months to plan, and relied on everything from Holocaust survivor outreach via Baycrest, Bernard Betel, Circle of Care, March of the Living and UJA Federation’s Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, to organizing transportation for over 100 Holocaust survivors -which would not have been possible without the dedication of Ranit Beck, the transportation coordinator, to sponsorship, catering, entertainment and all of the events logistics which would not have been possible without Sara Lefton (Co-Chair) and the rest of the committee.

And why a prom? Did they even have proms in Europe? Some say yes, others question it. However, the important part about the prom is that young people today can relate to it. A prom is a rite of passage today’s youth look forward to—a time where opportunity is boundless—free to ask what do I wear to prom? What university should I accept? Do I go to Israel for a year? What law school do I want to go to? And we should be and are thankful for these choices.

For survivors, they wondered how, if at all, they would survive the atrocities of the Holocaust, never mind what a future would look like. “I was in Auschwitz when I was 16,” shares Nate Leipciger, Holocaust survivor and was also this year’s Prom King. “We had no future, but with young adults, we have a future,” he adds.

The sight of 300 jubilant Holocaust survivors wearing their best suits and dresses adorned with yellow rose boutonnières, dancing and connecting with young people was a sight for sore eyes. Sixty-plus years ago, survivors wore yellow stars as a tactic of severe degradation.

The Yellow Rose Project does whatever it can to ensure the stories and testimonials of survivors are passed on through our programs including friendly visiting and friendly calling as well as the Unbroken Telephone—an initiative whereby Holocaust survivors are matched with 4-5 young adults to share and teach their stories so that when survivors are no longer here, their stories will be retold.

Franka Kon, the inspiration for the yellow rose projects name, recently shared that “we can go a little easier now knowing what The Yellow Rose Project will accomplish—and there is work to do!”

The Senior Prom: An Intergenerational Celebration of Life would not have been possible without its Lead Sponsor, aka Prom King and Prom King, Howard Sokolowski and Senator Linda Frum, as well as our Benefactor, aka Prince and Princess, Honey and Barry Sherman. These individuals understood the significance and beauty of bringing 300+ Holocaust survivors together with young adults in the community. For so many reasons, the community has a lot to thank these individuals for.

For more information, please visit theyellowroseproject.wordpress.comor contact them at theyellowroseproject@gmail.com

VICE Journalists Join the IDF on their Mission to Support Syrian Rebels [VIDEO] VICE Journalists Join the IDF on their Mission to Support Syrian Rebels [VIDEO] TrendingOf Course There's Gay Erotic Hanukkah Fiction Of Course There's Gay Erotic Hanukkah Fiction TrendingSomeone Made a Remix of Sia's "Chandelier" Featuring Vocals From Benjamin Netanyahu Someone Made a Remix of Sia's "Chandelier" Featuring Vocals From Benjamin Netanyahu Trending
 

Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21)

December 19, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21)

Join Shalom Life in celebrating the 50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and beautiful Jewish women of the year.

Read More

Analyst Suggests Qatar 'Give' World Cup 2022 to Gaza

December 19, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Analyst Suggests Qatar 'Give' World Cup 2022 to Gaza

Tom Gross argues that the move would be beneficial for Palestinians in Israel

Read More

Natalie Portman Explains How 'Star Wars' Almost Ruined Her Career

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Natalie Portman Explains How 'Star Wars' Almost Ruined Her Career

The 'Black Swan' actress says no one wanted to work with her after 'Star Wars'

Read More

Liberace's Hologram to Go On World Tour, Starting in Las Vegas

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Liberace's Hologram to Go On World Tour, Starting in Las Vegas

The deceased performer will be entertaining a whole new generation of fans.

Read More

Adam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO]

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Adam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO]

On Thursday evening, Maroon 5 wowed the audience with a live performance of 'Animals'

Read More

Oops! Drake Confused Adam Silver for Donald Sterling

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Oops! Drake Confused Adam Silver for Donald Sterling

At the Toronto Raptors Drake night, Drake mixed up some important names.

Read More

Ambassador Dan Shapiro Urges U.S. Collaboration with Jerusalem College of Technology

December 19, 2014 | By ShalomLife Team
Ambassador Dan Shapiro Urges U.S. Collaboration with Jerusalem College of Technology

Shapiro visited the college for a private demonstration of several ground-breaking technologies developed by students

Read More

This British Politician Is Trying to Put an End to Racism & anti-Semitism on Twitter

December 19, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
This British Politician Is Trying to Put an End to Racism & anti-Semitism on Twitter

Luciana Berger, the subject of some 2,500 anti-Semitic tweets earlier this year, wants the platform to ban racist words

Read More

More Headlines