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VIDEO: Jackie Hoffman, Lea Salonga and More Join WE ARE HERE: A Celebration Of Resilience, Resistance, And Hope

VIDEO: Jackie Hoffman, Lea Salonga and More Join WE ARE HERE: A Celebration Of Resilience, Resistance, And Hope

This Sunday, Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, Sing for Hope, and Lang Lang International Music Foundation presented "We Are Here: A Celebration of Resilience, Resistance, and Hope," shown virtually across the globe by nearly 150 organizations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 77th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, even as it spoke to the challenges of the current moment.

Renowned actors, musicians, and civic leaders who were featured include: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo; Consul General of Israel Dani Dayan; EGOT-winner Whoopi Goldberg; four-time Grammy Award and National Medal of Arts-winner, star soprano Renée Fleming; Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody; Grammy Hall of Famer and Tony-winner Billy Joel; world-renowned pianist Lang Lang; the iconic Dr. Ruth Westheimer; Emmy- and Tony-nominated actress Lauren Ambrose; multi-platinum, Tony-winning Broadway star Lea Salonga; multi-Grammy-winning opera star Joyce DiDonato; award-winning actress Mayim Bialik; acclaimed soprano and curator Julia Bullock; conductor and pianist Christian Reif; Broadway actor and Lucille Lortel-winner Steven Skybell; multi-Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard; internationally renowned baritone Lester Lynch; Broadway star Jelani Remy; award-winning comedienne Jackie Hoffman; Broadway veteran and international opera singer Elmore James; beloved klezmer singer Daniel Kahn; 2020 Grammy-winner John Brancy; pianist and NPR From The Top host Peter Dugan; Congregation Rodeph Sholom Cantor Rebecca Garfein; Yiddish singer Sasha Lurje; celebrated Yiddish theater performer Dani Marcus; Yiddish Fiddler star Rachel Zatcoff; Congregation Rodeph Sholom organist J. David Williams; New York City Opera and Yiddish theater performer Glenn Seven Allen; accordionist and composer Patrick Farrell; internationally recognized soprano Jennifer Zetlan; renowned operatic and new music interpreter Blythe Gaissert; pianist and conductor Gerald Steichen; pianist and musical director Thomas Bagwell; National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek; and acclaimed sopranos and Sing for Hope Co-Founders Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora. A special feature of the program was the world premiere of a new work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano based on a text by Kitty O'Meara, to be performed by Ms. Fleming.

Also appearing with Cantor Garfein were choir members: Ann Wazelle (Soprano); Joan Mohre (Alto); Chad Kranak (Tenor); and, Clyde Crewey (Bass).

The four leading New York City-based institutions enlisted an international network of supporting museums and partner institutions - from 35 states and 13 foreign countries, including Australia, Belarus, Canada, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United Kingdoma?? - to show the 90-minute afternoon event, which was available to watch for free.

To date, an estimated 50,000 people have seen the presentation, and the numbers continue to grow.

The program also featured an interview by The Forward Editor-in-Chief Jodi Rudoren with Nancy Spielberg, Roberta Grossman, and Sam Kassow about their film Who Will Write Our History, which chronicles the story of Oneg Shabbat, the group that daringly preserved the history of the Warsaw Ghetto. The Forward is the event's media sponsor.

The event culminated with a montage of voices proclaiming "We are here," featuring many of the actors, musicians, civic leaders, and Holocaust survivors who participated in the program. Other people in the montage included: New York State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou; Rabbi Joseph Potasnik; Holocaust survivor Arthur Spielman; Rwandan genocide survivor Jacqueline Murekatete; Holocaust survivors Eva Haller and Ann Axelrod; first generation Holocaust survivor Rita Lerner; third generation Holocaust survivors Stacey Saiontz and Alyssa Greengrass Sommer; and members of the FDNY.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising-in which 13,000 Jews died fighting Nazi oppression in April and May 1943-was the largest single act of resistance during the Holocaust. The Uprising was the inspiration for "Zog nit keyn mol" (Yiddish: "Never Say"), also known as the "Partisan Song," which was written in 1943 by Hirsch Glick while he was in the Vilna Ghetto. The song, which exemplifies Jewish resistance to Nazi persecution, provided the initial inspiration for the June 14 concert event, and resonates today with themes of resistance, resilience, and hope.

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