On April 13, 2015 arts, educational and memorial organizations across the country united by participating in the first ever Remembrance Readings for Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). This event was conceived and launched by the National Jewish Theater Foundation (NJTF) as a way of harnessing the unique power of theater to remember the Holocaust, honor its victims, and foster subsequent conversations about lessons learned for future generations. It draws upon material from over 750 plays made accessible in our newly created Holocaust Theater Catalog (HTC).
In 2017, our third year, participation increased by 50% to include theaters, memorial museums /organizations, libraries, consulates, colleges and universities, secondary schools and JCCs from 11 states including the celebrity involvement of Tovah Feldshuh appearing at The Old Globe in San Diego, and Sheldon Harnick and Charles Strouse at Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. Participants of all age levels and backgrounds chose their own play or musical and most combined their presentation with a follow up panel. Remembrance Readings recognizes Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) by using theater as a means to honor the victims of the Holocaust, their memories and stories and its must never to be forgotten lessons. All 2017 events were held in honor of the contribution to theater made by Elie and Marion Wiesel. 2018 dates coincide with the Sunday and Monday just before actual Yom HaShoah dates of April 11/12 to avoid program conflicts and to use dates when theaters are dark. Participants are welcome to choose April 11/12.
Arnold Mittelman, NJTF President and Founding Project Director of its Holocaust Theater International Initiative at University of Miami Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies stated, “Over the past 3 years our participants and audiences have recognized that Remembrance Readings with plays selected from the NJTF HTII Holocaust Theater Catalog engenders participation, education, identification and empathy that only live theater exemplifies and delivers in such a profound way. All have experienced first hand how the use of theater in this manner and in education provides an artistic moral compass for future generations".
Sunday April 8th and Monday April 9th 2018 have been designated as dates of the 4th Annual National Jewish Theater Foundation- Holocaust Theater International Initiative Remembrance Readings.