Holocaust Remembrance at CSUSM Nears 100 in Attendanceby SDJJ Staff May 6, 2016
While San Diego State prepared for protest ahead of a scheduled speech by conservative activist David Horowitz, Cal State San Marcos and its Chabad congregation hosted a community commemoration of the Shoah. The Journal was not able to send a reporter to the event, but Rabbi Yair Yelin, who runs Chabad San Marcos, reports a turnout of about 100 people, with approximately 60 students and 40 community members.
The Mayor of San Marcos, Jim Desmond, offered remarks which, according to Yelin, showed great support of the Jewish community. From the University, Dr. Matt Ceppi and Lorena Mesa were also in attendance. Hershel Frankel, a local Holocaust survivor, gave the keynote address, sharing his experience and taking questions from the audience.
Rabbi Yellen remembered one question:
“How can [Frankel] be religious after everything he went through?”
According to Rabbi Yelin, Frankel said, “because he survived and he is alive. When you survive such terrible conditions you get to appreciate life in a different way. Life receives a new meaning and you realize how miraculous life is. It couldn’t just happen by accident.”
Rabbi Yelin also offered remarks at the memorial. He explained, over email, what he said:
“I had with me a coin that the Jews had to use in the Ghetto (10 Marks) and a regular US coin. One [coin] represented an era of violation of human dignity, human rights and freedom, dictatorship and discrimination. The other [coin] represented all the great values of this country. I pointed out that while the first coin doesn’t exist anymore, the U.S. coin does. My message was that the Holocaust Memorial was not intended just to remember victims but to celebrate the survival and victory of humanity.”
Yelin went on to explain that the candles included in their ceremony were there to remind people that the “survival of our nation is hidden in the ability of our people to keep alive the flame of dignity, hope, faith, and kindness despite being surrounded by deep darkness.”
*Photos by Frankel Photography