New Jewish Family Alliance hosts Holocaust survivor at Tuesday event


Julia Lourenco and Matthew Brand

The Jewish Family Alliance (JFA) debuted at an event this Tuesday with Holocaust survivor Ilana Yaari.

Andrea Olshan ‘98 P’30, ‘31, ‘31 and Keren Weltsch P’28, ‘31 hosted the event. JFA was founded earlier this school year to celebrate Jewish identity, tradition, culture, and values, according to their mission statement.

At the event, Yaari spoke about her childhood as a Jewish person in Poland during the Holocaust. Weltsch invited Yaari so attendees could hear first-hand testimony from a Holocaust survivor and actively engage with her, she said.

Yaari connected her message with the event’s theme: unity and advocacy for Jewish beliefs. She urged the students in the audience to speak about the Holocaust in their daily lives. “[Young people] have a voice,” she said. “It is [their] most important tool — use it.” 

After hearing from Yaari, Mara Silverstein (9) felt inspired to advocate for more Holocaust education in schools, she said. The event was an enlightening, interactive way to explore the history of antisemitism.

Rose Korff (10) said. “It’s important to learn how to use our voices to spread awareness.” Being involved in Jewish communities is key to this, as “anti semitism is very prevalent in the world around us,” she said.

Yaari’s story was informative and inspiring, Ethan Furman (9) said. “It made me realize how grateful I am for the present, but also led me to realize how much we need to work towards a brighter future.”

The Parents Association, Center of Identity Culture and Institutional Equity (ICIE), and the Jewish Museum of New York City supported JFA in hosting the event. ICIE secured the logistics and offered advice in the planning, while the JFA co-chairs proposed the event, selected the speaker, and coordinated outreach to the school community.