The American Society for Yad Vashem (ASYV) was founded in 1981 by a small group of survivors, spearheaded by Eli Zborowski z”l. The ASYV is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization whose goal is to work in partnership with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. The ASYV supports Yad Vashem’s efforts in the areas of commemoration, education, research, capital improvement and special projects through its development efforts and ongoing cultural and educational programming.
Today, the Society draws support from the contributions of Jewish survivors, community members and major philanthropists. It also relies on a cadre of volunteers who give their gift of time. Over the years, the Society and its thousands of supporting members, have been an important partner to most major Yad Vashem projects, while continuing to provide vital operating support. Some of these major projects include the Valley of Communities, the 2001 Master Plan upgrading the Mount of Remembrance of Yad Vashem and preparing for the 21st century. During these projects the entrance complex, including the Visitors’ Center, was built as well as Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies and the New Museum Complex.
Annual Tribute Dinner
The Society’s major fundraiser is its Annual Tribute Dinner which draws more than 1,000 guests including business and cultural leaders, government officials and members of the diplomatic corps. In conjunction with the dinner, the Society publishes a commemorative photo journal which pays tribute to the vibrancy of Jewish life in pre-war Europe and to the collective accomplishments of Holocaust survivors in the United States and Israel. Each year, the Society bestows Remembrance Awards on two distinguished individuals or couples who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of Remembrance.
The Society’s Education Department, in collaboration with Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies, sponsors seminars and conferences for teachers involved in Holocaust education. In addition, it offers student internships, professional development conferences and a Speakers’ Bureau.
The American Society for Yad Vashem publishes the bi-monthly newspaper Martyrdom and Resistance, which it inaugurated in the fall of 1974. It is the first and oldest continuously published periodical in the United States devoted to the Holocaust and has become a valuable resource for scholars and researchers. Its unique quality lies in the combination of news and features about all aspects of the Holocaust and resistance, including book and film reviews, reports about educational programs and an overview of survivor activities.
Young Leadership Associates
The Society’s Young Leadership Associates (YLA) was inaugurated in 1997. Caroline Massel is its Founding Chairperson. Current Chairpersons are Jeremy and Abbi Halpern and Jeffrey Wilf. The YLA has an active board and a growing membership of young people, among whom are children and grandchildren of survivors. The YLA has undertaken the task of developing ongoing programs fostering Holocaust education and remembrance and has branched out nationally with these programs.
Statement by ASYV Founding Chairman Eli Zborowski z”l
“The American Society for Yad Vashem is the first among Holocaust organizations to have built an infrastructure which extends not only to the second generation of survivors, but now to the third. Working together with our children, grandchildren and their friends, we will surely perpetuate this unique institution that Abba Eban described as ‘one of the most significant landmarks in the moral history of mankind’.”
ASYV Chairman Lenny Wilf
Lenny Wilf’s commitment to Holocaust remembrance and education grew from childhood. He was born in Goggingen , Germany and raised from the age of nine in New Jersey. His parents, survivors, Harry and Judith, lived by the notion to ‘Never Forget’ what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust, and to educate all future generations so they should always remember. It was a natural progression for Lenny to have a strong commitment to organizations like the American Society for Yad Vashem. He has also served a term on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council.
The Wilf family’s work with Yad Vashem began almost from the onset of the organization. After Lenny’s father passed away, he began working closely with Eli Zborowski, a continuing relationship until Eli’s passing. Eli was a powerhouse in his commitment for Holocaust remembrance and education and all that Yad Vashem has come to stand for today. The closeness that Lenny and Eli shared gave Lenny tremendous insight into Eli’s driving force and has secured his commitment to continuing Eli’s legacy.
For further information about the Society and its important work in supporting Yad Vashem, please visit: