As we were standing in the construction site of a 330-seat Edmond J. Safra Lecture Hall being built as part of the new wing of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem, I began to reflect on Brundibar, a theatrical event performed by Jewish children in Terezin as well as productions in other ghettos during the Shoah. Despite hunger, disease and despair, by acting on stage these thespians attempted to retain their own humanity as well as that of their audiences. Many of them would never have believed that their names and personal stories would be remembered within the framework of lectures and workshops given by School staff on the Mountain of Remembrance in Jerusalem.
The new, modern lecture hall, to be opened in 2012, is nestled in the Jerusalem forest, surrounded by trees that commemorate the rare actions of Righteous among the Nations who dared to help Jewish people during the Holocaust period.
The destruction of Jewish theater under Nazi occupation, a loss to western civilization, can never be repaired. However, I believe that future events in the new School auditorium will not only uphold the power of culture, but also contribute to mending the world (tikun olam).