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Home arrow Jewish Culture and Heritage arrow Jewish Culture nį74. By Gilberte Jacaret
Saturday, 04 July 2015
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Jewish Culture nį74. By Gilberte Jacaret Print E-mail
Lawrence Siegel’s ‘Kaddish- I am Here’ to be performed at Yad Vashem... European Jewish Press. August 30 2011

A unique concert featuring the stirring words of Holocaust survivors, performed by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, soloists and choirs from Israel and the United States, will take place at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on September 8.
Gil Shohat and the orchestra will perform Lawrence Siegel’s "Kaddish - I am Here" in the presence of Israel’s President Shimon Peres, Holocaust survivors and their families, and official State guests, including members of the diplomatic corps. It is the Israeli premiere of the piece.

Named for the Jewish prayer for the dead, "Kaddish - I am Here" conveys the stories of Holocaust survivors in their own words, in their own languages, providing a window into their experiences.

"Because of the verbatim use of testimony, the messages are an authentic and accurate reading of the feeling and thoughts of some of the survivors of the Holocaust," said Dr. Siegel.

Kaddish consists of fifteen movements for chorus, soloists and orchestra. In words and music, it illustrates a specific moment in history while illuminating the Holocaust as a profound human tragedy whose repercussions are still felt today.

The piece moves from vignettes about life in central Europe before the Holocaust, through poignant, individual descriptions of the darkest of days, and ends with the resiliency of the survivors. One of the key movements is a litany of thousands of names of Holocaust victims.

"I had a little sister, five years younger than myself. / Her name was Raysha. / My daughter’s name is Raysha…/ My little sister was 8 years old. / A German officer came, he tore her away from my mother And he pushed her to the left side of the field. / My mother said to my father, / We need to go with Raysha. / I started crying / That I don’t want to go to that side. / That I want to live, that I want my parents with me. / And my parents stayed with me. /My little sister went to the left side of the field."

"From Kaddish - I am Here" was commissioned by the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College in New Hampshire, in honor of its 25th anniversary. Since then it has been performed seven times, to great acclaim, notably by the Houston Symphony Orchestra, in partnership with Holocaust Museum Houston, in the premiere of a full symphonic version.

The September concert at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square, is part of Yad Vashem’s ongoing activities to commemorate the Holocaust through the arts.

Two years ago, Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish with a libretto by Samuel Pisar was performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and smaller concerts are held periodically.
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