Bringing the Military Back to Maccabee
Putting a new spin on Chanukah celebrations, the U.S. Marine Corps Marching Band will perform at The Calabasas Shul's annual menorah-lighting ceremony to honor the men and women of the United States armed forces.
Local musician Brad Schachter and the Kadima Hebrew Academy Children's Choir will also perform at the latkes-and-sufganiyot party.
A 16-foot model of a Navy battleship and one of the Air Force's new jet fighter, the Raptor, will be on display, along with other equipment representative of the four military branches.
"Chanukah is a celebration of heroes and victory," said shul leader Rabbi Yacov Vann. "We are proud to dedicate this event to the heroes of freedom and to send our prayers and support for those in the U.S. armed forces."
The celebration has a special meaning for event chairman Neil Yeschin -- his 20-year-old son, Steven, is serving in the Marine Corps. Steven Yeschin will be the Marine's delegate for the menorah-lighting, but it doesn't stop his father from worrying about the future.
"He was in college and after Sept. 11 he dropped out and joined the Marines," Yeschin said. "He just went through desert training, civil-unrest training and will be deployed, but who knows when or where?"
Yeschin said the various branches of the service have been enthusiastic about their participation in the Chanukah event and plan to provide giveaways of pens and other goodies for the children.
The event will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 6-8 p.m. at The Commons at Calabasas, located on Calabasas Road, south of the Ventura Freeway, between Valley Circle Boulevard and Parkway Calabasas. For information call (818) 591-7485. -- Wendy Madnick, Contributing Writer
Shoah Opens Archives to Educators
Staff, volunteers and supporters of Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation (VHF) gathered last month for the dedication of the Tapper Research and Testing Center at the foundation's Studio City headquarters. The Tapper Center ushered in a new phase of educational outreach for the foundation.
The Tapper Center, which allows students, educators and researchers to access the VHF's archive for academic and creative purposes, features six computer workstations equipped with a cutting-edge software applications developed by the VHF. The software allows users to search the VHF's digital Visual History Archive, in which nearly 52,000 eyewitness testimonies -- documented through video and text documents -- are comprehensively categorized and cross-referenced.
Among those in attendance: Shoah Foundation President and CEO Douglas Greenberg; Tapper Center namesake Albert Tapper; Deborah Dwork, Rose professor of Holocaust History and director of the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. Shoah Foundation founder Steven Spielberg could not attend because he was in Japan for the opening of his film, "Minority Report."
In 1994, Spielberg established Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation as an afterthought from his experience directing "Schindler's List" in 1993. Since its formation, the VHF has interviewed, videotaped and catalogued more than 50,000 Holocaust survivors, hailing from 57 countries, in 32 languages.
With its goal quota of testimonies recorded, Greenberg said that the VHF will now move into a new phase that will preserve and provide access to its archives, further its educational programs and develop educational products, such as the foundation's line of interactive CD-Roms, based on the data gathered.
The Ambassadors for Humanity dinner, benefiting the survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5. Tickets start at $1,500. For information, call (818) 777-7876. To learn more about the Shoah Visual History Foundation, visit www.vhf.org . -- Michael Aushenker, Staff Writer