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Holocaust Remembrance to be held Jan. 27

January 16, 2020
Pine Island Eagle

The Laboratory Theater of Florida is hosting a free Community Holocaust Remembrance to unite residents and visitors to remember and reflect on the genocide that took the lives of 6 million Jews and 11 million others in the World War II era.

On Jan. 27 at 7 p.m., Holocaust survivors will be joined by Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and laypeople who will share their thoughts and experiences. This gives attendees the opportunity to not only remember and memorialize, but to learn and connect with others of similar and varying faiths. Attendees also will have the opportunity to light an LED candle in remembrance of those who lives were lost or forever altered by the Holocaust.

Laboratory Theater board member, noted author and freelance journalist with a focus on human rights and humanitarian issues, Ella Nayor, will moderate the discussion. Nayor is dedicated to inspiring change and raising awareness about the connectivity of people around the globe.

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"We at Laboratory Theater are organizing this event as a way for the community to come together in a show of solidarity and unity for everyone in the human family as well as a way to remember the Holocaust and the lives lost due to hatred, fear and bigotry," Nayor said. "These issues and sentiments are still thriving today and without exposing them and reaching out to the entire community they will and are happening again."

The Laboratory Theater of Florida has earned a rare endorsement from the Florida Holocaust Museum for its efforts to ensure that these stories are told and retold in a manner that encourages unity and not discord.

Jan. 27 also is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and each year, Nayor and husband Jeff Cull sponsor a Holocaust or Jewish-themed play with community talk back including a Holocaust survivor.

"It is through these community talk backs that we can reach the minds, hearts and soul of the community," Nayor said.

The Laboratory Theater and Nayor are putting on this event to also shed a light on "the rising tide of anti-semitism and violence around Jewish people."

"The Holocaust and anti-Semitism is not a Jewish issue but a human one," Nayor said. "We all need to see ourselves inside each other. What hurts one soul hurts everyone. We're all connected."

The community talk back will feature professional Jewish musicians, Jewish clergy from reform and orthodox traditions, a Catholic priest, Muslim woman activist, Holocaust survivor and World War II liberator, providing a rare opportunity for students and residents and visitors to learn about the dangers leading to events such as the Holocaust.

The audience will get to hear from the voices of both the Jewish and non-Jewish community.

"Theater-goers can expect to be inspired, touched and educated about Judaism and humanity at large," Nayor said. "The speakers will share their lives, stories and insights about the Holocaust and ongoing issues with anti-Semitism and hatred today. The patrons will also have a chance to ask questions of the individual speakers and light up candles together as one community."

Nayor said the event is a great way for Jewish and non-Jewish members of the community to come together in solidarity and unity and honor those murdered in the Holocaust as well as finding love, support and healing in our fellow community.

Nayor, as a moderator, writer and activist for human rights issues such as the Holocaust, can tap into her years of experience with Holocaust survivors.

She grew up Jewish in New York, and said she was forbidden from divulging her faith to the non-Jewish community in which her family lived. She said it was not until her 40s that she started coming out and speaking about Jewish-related issues and the Holocaust.

"I am compelled to stand up for the voiceless dead and alive of all racial, religious and ethnicities. If not me or you, then who?" Nayor said.

The event is free, but donations are being accepted in honor of Holocaust victims, with donations going to the Florida State Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg.

"The event is a great way for Jewish and non-Jewish members of the community to come together in solidarity and unity and honor those murdered in the Holocaust as well as finding love, support and healing in our fellow community," Nayor said. "We are a safe place to meet. We are not a synagogue, church or mosque. We are a theater and a place for all people to learn, see and grow together."

Those interested can reserve a seat by calling the box office at 239-218-0481.

The Laboratory Theater is at 1634 Woodford Ave. in the Fort Myers River District.

Visit for more information.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj



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