Yom HaShoah Commemorations
By Christine Tomasello, Director of Operations
In 2017, The Butterfly Project’s wings spread far and wide by participating in Yom HaShoah and Holocaust Remembrance events around the country. Several schools, JCCs, and community organizations from 16 different cities across the US incorporated The Butterfly Project in their Yom HaShoah activities, bringing people together to paint butterflies in honor of the 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust.
This Year’s Yom HaShoah Events
Valley Outreach Synagogue Center for Jewish Life (Calabasas, CA) hosted a butterfly painting event and film screening of NOT The Last Butterfly that included a Q&A session with our Executive Director, Cheryl Rattner Price. Julie Goren, a congregation member who saw the NOT The Last Butterfly at the Museum of Tolerance screening in 2016, held on to her vision of bringing it to her community for a year. Julie thought The Butterfly Project was a perfect activity to commemorate Yom HaShoah and knew that the painted butterflies would be a very special addition to their new building. VOS selected The Butterfly Project event to be their very first outside program in their brand new space. Under the direction of Julie and VOS Education Director, Carla Adivi (JEWELS Program Director), VOS congregation members ranging from young children to grandparents painted 360 butterflies that will be used to create a permanent installation at their synagogue. The participation of several local survivors made the event that much more meaningful and special. In their congregation’s newsletter, Carla said that,
“The Butterfly Project provides a timely opportunity for community members to contribute to the collective memory of so many young lives who never had a chance to take flight due to discrimination and intolerance… We are honored to participate and invite all to paint a butterfly to add to this global installation of remembrance and hope.”
The Butterfly Project was honored to be included in several other significant Yom HaShoah ceremonies as well – each one each one memorable in its own way, and each one bringing us closer to our global goal of 1.5 million butterflies…
- San Diego Jewish Academy held an event in which students painted butterflies with Holocaust survivors.
- The Eisenhower Foundation and Presidential Library, in Abilene, KS, showed the film and painted butterflies in early April. They had full houses both days of their screenings for the public and 8th grade screenings, and the Arts Council of Dickinson County created a unique mural in their downtown storefront.
- The Institute for Holocaust Education in Omaha, NE brought several classes from various Omaha schools together to paint butterflies.
- Jewish Federation of Greater Portland hosted multiple butterfly painting events for their community, which resulted in over 100 butterflies painted.
- UJA Federation of New York’s Engaged Jewish Service Corps, through the Shames JCC on the Hudson brought The Butterfly Project to three separate locations – Mt. Kisco, Scarsdale, and Tarrytown, NY.
- Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood, OH and Keystone School in San Antonio, TX hosted film screenings and butterfly painting events for their students.
- JCC Manhattan brought The Butterfly Project into their Jewish Journey Project by hosting a film screening and butterfly painting.
- River Edge Public Library in River Edge, NJ hosted a film screening and butterfly painting event for their community. Their painted butterflies are currently on display at Temple Avodat Shalom in River Edge.
- Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh brought their community together to paint over 400 butterflies that will be part of installations that will be built in multiple locations in their city.
- Ezra Academy in Woodbridge, CT, The Hebrew Academy in Huntington Beach, CA and Weber Middle School in Port Washington, NY hosted butterfly painting events for their students.
- Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Wynnewood, PA and Congregation Chaverim in Tucson, AZ hosted butterfly painting events for their congregation members.
- Lori Ripps from B’nai Israel Synagogue paired a special presentation of the play I Never Saw Another Butterfly by the Pensacola High School Theater Troupe 4750 with The Butterfly Project and they painted and displayed butterflies with the audience.
The Butterfly Project is honored to be included in these very special ceremonies and events of remembrance, and we deeply appreciate every organization that has brought us into their community. Our film NOT The Last Butterfly is helping us to share more deeply about our history and purpose, all of which is helping increase our impact dramatically with students learning about the 1.5 million children murdered in the Holocaust and empowering them to stand up for a more peaceful world today.