Shalhevet Choir sings at dedication of new Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

DEBUT: At its first performance of the year, Shalhevet Choir walks on to open the dedication of the new Los Angeles Museum of Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park Oct.14. Mayor Villaraigosa and City Councilman Eric Garcetti, right of podium, were among leaders who addressed the crowd. Note: The main photo for this story won a national photojournalism award from Quill and Scroll.

Photo Credit: Emilie Benyowitz BP Staff

DEBUT: At its first performance of the year, Shalhevet Choir walks on to open the dedication of the new Los Angeles Museum of Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park Oct.14. Mayor Villaraigosa and City Councilman Eric Garcetti, right of podium, were among leaders who addressed the crowd. Note: The main photo for this story won a national photojournalism award from Quill and Scroll.

Eitan Rothman, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Mayor, councilmen share the stage as 50-year effort to open new museum bears fruit

Dressed in black and white clothes that harmonized perfectly with the building they were honoring, the Shalhevet Choir performed Oct. 14 at the dedication ceremony for the new Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park, sharing a platform with various city officials including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Standing in rows in front of the swooping new cement-and-glass structure, the choir performed “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” by Naomi Shemer to start out the day’s ceremony. Senior sopranos Stephanie Salem and Ariella Benji sang the melody in the five-part a capella arrangement by Mrs. Keene, while the choir sang background and the refrain.

First to comment on the performance was Mayor Villaraigosa himself.

“Listening to the Shalhevet Choir, even though I don’t understand any Hebrew at all, I couldn’t help but feel the story in the song,” said the mayor as he began his speech. “It was important that we opened with a song.”

Senior alto Eli Willis, the choir’s vice president, reflected on the event and it’s importance.

“We were singing something meaningful to us and to most of the people there,” Eli said. “It felt incredible to have the mayor acknowledge that.”

For many who attended, the ceremony was an emotional conclusion to the museum’s 50-year quest for a permanent home to educate Los Angeles citizens about the Holocaust.  Also attending were Zev Yaroslavsky, County Supervisor for the Third District; City Councilman Tom LaBonge from District 4 where the park is located; City Councilman Paul Koretz who represents Shalhevet and much of West L.A., and Michael Feuer, state assemblyman representing the area.

Elizabeth Mann, a survivor who went through Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bergen Belsen and even one of the Death Marches, told The Boiling Point she had been working on the museum since 1951.

“We worked so  hard to come to the point we are at,” said Ms. Mann. “The whole ceremony was very uplifting for me.”

The museum had officially opened a few days before the choir’s performance. It has 30,000 square feet including over 9,000 square feet for exhibit space, according to the museum’s website at www.lamoth.org. From first glance it looks somewhat like a skate park that emerged magically from the ground, but when you gets a closer look you can see the detail and flow as it blends in with the park’s hilly scenery and meadow-in-the-city surroundings.

Television news crews and reporters from a variety of local news media were also in attendance, along with several Choir parents including Edith Ellenhorn, mother of freshman soprano Hannah Ellenhorn.

“The choir sang beautifully, and the song choice was very appropriate for the occasion,” Mrs. Ellenhorn said.

It was the group’s first outside performance this year, with 10 new singers who recently joined bringing its size to a record 23 singers. Choir co-president Emilio Lari called it an “amazing event.”

The boys wore white shirts and black ties for the occasion, while the girls wore white blouses and black skirts.

“Everyone seemed nervous but we pulled it together,” Emilio said. “I can honestly say that this is the start to an amazing year for our enormous group.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email