On Sunday 28th January, the Centre held its Holocaust Memorial Day event. Below are some highlights from the event.

Phil Lyons welcomed everyone and started the memorial day event by describing some of the Centre's activities.  He said, "Our role as educators is to bring hope." He then showed the Centre's new introductory video for secondary school students.  

Three Survivors talked about their childhood memories during the student introduction video.

Phil Lyons then spoke about the significance of 27th January 1945 and called on the Centre's Rabbi, Moshe Perez, to lead the assembly with Kaddish for the Holocaust Victims.

Phil then asked the Centre's youngest member of staff to come and light a memorial candle for the Victims of the Holocaust.  This was followed by a moment's reflection by the assembly.

Phil then explained how Survivor's testimony is at the heart of the Centre's activities.  He explained how there was an immense feeling of loss at the passing of six of the Centre's faithful Survivor speakers and called on Rabbi Tanya to lead the assembly in prayer for the six.

Tanya Sakhnovich from Nottingham Liberal Synagogue led prayers for the six Survivors who regularly spoke at the Centre and have unfortunately passed away in the last 12 months.

Mrs Marina Smith MBE, Co-founder of the Centre, then lit a memorial candle for the six Survivors.  Phil Lyons thanked the Smith Family and remarked how appropriate it was for Marina Smith to light the candle.  He then called on Dr James Smith to address the assembly.

The Centre's Co-Founder, Dr James Smith, expressed his sadness at the passing of six Survivors during the past year.  He said how powerful their words had been and thanked the Survivors who come to the Centre every week to share their stories.

He mentioned each of the six by name and drew attention to the stained-glass windows that had been made by Moshe Galili.

He thanked the Survivors for being there and sharing the deep personal loss they experienced in the Holocaust.  He mentioned how worrying it was to see the rise of far-right organisations today, but also drew attention to those in the Holocaust who chose to try and save lives.

James welcomed Carl Wilkens, the CEO of World Outside My Shoes. 

Carl was working in Rwanda before the Genocide and decided to stay during the Genocide there and saved 100s of lives. Carl encouraged the guests at the Centre to "saturate themselves with inclusion, empathy and respect".

In response to Carl's talk, Phil Lyons MBE, the Centre's CEO, encouraged guests to use the power of words to challenge prejudice.

James Smith then presented a commemorative card as a token of thanks to Rabbi Perez.  He said how the Centre's Rabbi had  always been there to encourage the Beth Shalom Centre and the Smith Family.  It was a time to say "thank you" to a dear friend of the Centre's, who has been in Nottingham for the entire life of the Centre and is now moving to Manchester.

Overwhelmed and totally unexpectedly, Rabbi Perez said how he saw this as a privilege,  how inspired he felt by the whole Smith Family, how they welcomed everyone as if members of their family.  They gave hope to the Survivors and helped them to come and speak and to inspire.  He himself felt inspired by the Survivors, the Smiths and the Centre.

A full recording of the event may be watched in the video below.