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Nashville BBYO chapters honor Holocaust survivors during A Shabbat to Remember

View this story in The Jewish Observer

Two Holocaust survivors were among the 30 members of the local Jewish community who took part last month in the BBYO Global Shabbat dinner in Nashville.

Global Shabbat is an annual BBYO event, and in keeping with this year’s theme – A Shabbat to Remember – hundreds of BBYO groups in 15 countries heard first-hand accounts from Holocaust survivors, who were then inducted as honorary members of the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA) and B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG), BBYO’s high school leadership fraternity and sorority. The honorary memberships were a way of restoring – at least symbolically – the childhoods stolen from them by the Nazis.

In Nashville, Frances Cutler Hahn and her husband, George Hahn, were inducted by Joseph Weil, 16, a member of the Athens of the South, the local AZA chapter.

The couple shared their stories of survival during the dinner, which was held at the home of BBG member Lauren Rosen just days before the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

“I was inspired to listen to the stories of such wonderful people who were punished for doing nothing wrong. Soon there will be no survivors and it will be our job to carry on their stories,” Weil said. “It was my pleasure to induct Frances and George Hahn in to BBYO because when they were teens, they weren’t able to join. But the lesson we learn is to keep their stories alive and to never forget.”

Frances Hahn was born in Paris, sent by her parents to a Catholic children’s home to avoid deportation by the Nazis and moved to America after the war to live with her aunt and uncle.

“It was amazing to share our stories with so many Jewish teens in the Nashville community,” she said. “The teens are really remarkable.”

In advance of Global Shabbat, BBYO’s international presidents, Grand Aleph Godol Colin Silverman and N’siah Lauren Keats, said in a statement that the event was intended “to create celebratory and open spaces so that survivors can share their stories. As the last generation to have the opportunity to hear from these survivors firsthand, it is up to us to make the most of this gift so that we will never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust or the lessons of strength and perseverance of the Jewish people.”

A Shabbat to Remember was introduced in July at BBYO’s International Kallah, where where eight Holocaust survivors joined hundreds of teens from around the globe in learning, singing and dancing. Throughout the weekend, the teens had the opportunity to hear the survivors’ stories and commit to share them with future generations. At the end of the weekend, the survivors were also inducted as honorary members of AZA and BBG. The Global Shabbat celebrations in Nashville and around the world in were a continuation of this meaningful experience.

For more information about BBYO in Nashville and more meaningful Jewish experiences in the area, please contact Sheri Rosenberg, Nashville city director at 615-354-1659 or •

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