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Candlelighting ceremony of Yom HaShoah reminds of genocides

Yom HaShoah candlelighters 2018

The candle-lighting ceremony during the recent Yom HaShoah observance commemorating the Holocaust for the first time recognized the prolonged genocide against the language, land, lives and culture of the Native Americans across the United States and in this region.

LaRae Wiley, director of the Salish School of Spokane, lit the candle on behalf of all victims and survivors of that genocide.  The Salish School was recognized as working to reverse the damage done and to preserve the language through immersion in the Salish language.

“As with all genocides that continue in the world today,” said Hershel Zellman, who is on the planning committee, “Never Again! seems to be a dream.”

Others lighting candles were survivors Carla Peperzak and Cora der Koorkanian; second generation, Mary Noble in memory of destroyed communities; third generation, Neal Schindler in memory of murdered children; Second Lieutenant Antony Vorobyov of Fairchild Air Force Base in memory of ghetto fighters and Jewish members of the armed forces; Jackson Lino of World Relief Spokane representing the righteous among the nations, and 10 members of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project who recently visited Israel.

Yom HaShoah essay writers

Each year, Yom HaShoah in Spokane is the occasion for the Eva Lassman Memorial Creative Writing Contest and an Art Contest.  Both are for middle school and high school students to encourage their creating art or writing about the theme for the year.  This year, the theme was “Hate Speech: Prelude to Genocide.”

The contest is a means to encourage education and learning about the Holocaust as the number of survivors who can tell their experiences first hand diminishes. The contest is named for Holocaust survivor Eva Lassman who spent many years educating students by sharing her story.  Essays and art of contest winners —pictured above— are available at

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