Kent State’s Cohn-Jewish Hillel Center and Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity, came together on Wednesday night outside of the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center to observe Yom HaShoa, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Beginning at 7 p.m. students, faculty and staff read the names of the 6 million Jewish people who who perished in the Holocaust.
Michael Pollack, a senior criminal justice major, organized this year’s Yom HaShoah observance.
Pollack said the remembrance day began at the spirit rock on campus where they painted “Yom HaShoah” on it with the Jewish star on the back.
“Then we did a silent march, a walk to remember, from the rock to the MACC,” Pollack said.
This is Pollack’s fourth year participating in Yom HaShoah at Kent State.
He said the purpose is to never forget that the holocaust happened and to remember that everyone has a name, he said back then they only had a number.
23 candles, one microphone and a book with 6 million jewish names sat on the table covered with an Alpha Epsilon Pi flag in front of the M.A.C. Center.
Students set up by bringing blankets and snacks to get them through the 24 hours.
Ezra Katz, a freshman chemistry major, said being a Jewish person and having family that perished in the Holocaust gave him a chance to mourn all of those people he has lost.
“To me, it means to never forget all of these horrible things that have happened in the past,” Katz said. “And to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”
Terry Hugo, a senior business management and marketing major, had an interesting connection to the event, as he is the only non-Jewish member of Alpha Epsilon Pi.
“Even though I’m not Jewish and I’m in the jewish fraternity on campus, AEPi, it still has meaning to me.”
Alpha Epsilon Pi is a Jewish based fraternity, but does not require members to be Jewish in order to join.
“It means a lot to my brothers because they have a lot of family members who have survived the Holocaust and some who didn’t,” Hugo said.
“It’s special to them and that’s why I’m here to support,” Hugo said.
Sitting on the steps of the M.A.C. Center wrapped in a blanket was freshman public relations major, Joanna Levin.
“The whole point of talking about the holocaust now is remembering,” Levin said. “That’s all we can do because so many survivors are dying.”
Pollack said it was important to reach awareness to everyone on the campus and the world to show the Holocaust is still relevant today.
“As a Jewish person on this campus, it means so much,” Levin said.
Keri Richmond is the religion reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected]