The Festivals Committee of the Etz Chayim Shul (Kehilat HaGivah) came up with the idea of a children's art exhibition for Yom HaShoah after noticing that other communities had events specifically for adults but not for children. Now children would be able to express their feelings about the Holocaust, this time through art. Parents of younger children who had not yet been exposed to the subject would be encouraged to do engage their children through drawings or paint.
The call for submissions was met with an enthusiastic response. Children, some as young as 3-4 years old, up to young adults submitted paintings, drawings, poems, prose and photographic collages. Even parents submitted their work. The exhibition was held in Etz Chaim shul hall on Yom HaShoah in the afternoon and evening. In addition to the artwork, we showed the video testimony of Mrs. Rose Stark, a survivor of Auschwitz and other concentration camps. The video was shown on a small TV screen to one side of the exhibition so that parents of younger children could bypass it if necessary.
Baruch Hashem, we had a continuous stream of visitors to the exhibition for the entire four hours. Many visitors were simply amazed at how much the children had internalized and how powerfully and movingly they had expressed their feelings through their creative work. The video testimony was also watched by many throughout the afternoon and evening. Parents whose children had submitted their work told us that the project gave them an opportunity to sit down and speak with their children about the Holocaust, in some cases for the first time.
Our thanks to the children of Kehilat HaGivah and other communities who submitted their beautiful work and to the parents who spent many hours painting and drawing with their children for the exhibition.