Marblehead High School student Jeremy Sorkin was honored at Faneuil Hall Sunday, after his essay on Holocaust remembrance won third place in the Israel Arbeiter Essay Contest.
Sorkin placed third out of six winners who won a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 10. Although Sorkin could not attend Sunday’s Yom HaShoah commemoration in Boston honoring the estimated six million Jewish people killed in the Holocaust, he said he watched the event on television and saw his essay recognized at the event.
“There was a very touching, moving type of ceremony. They announced three winners of the Holocaust essay contest,” Sorkin said. “We were given certificates for doing our part in the Jewish community to fight back against antisemitism.”
Holocaust survivor Israel Arbeiter established the contest through the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston to confront the horrors of the Holocaust and contemplate ways in which society can stand up to modern day injustices. Each year, dozens of middle and high school students from across Greater Boston write essays on the Holocaust, antisemitism, and bringing an end to religious persecution.
Sorkin found out about the essay through his temple Shirat Hayam, and wrote about three particular aspects of the Holocaust that he considered most important. The three aspects are the journeys that survivors took, the brutal conditions Jewish people were subjected to in the concentration camps, and the Jewish community’s resiliency and persistence amid a rise in antisemitism today.
As a Jewish teenager, Sorkin said he felt a sense of duty to ensure that the younger generation never forgets the Holocaust.
“75 percent of the essay explained how thin they were, how they had nothing to eat — all the inhumane actions that were perpetrated on them. I wrapped it up by talking about how antisemitism kind of persisted from the Holocaust, and how people can help fight back against it,” Sorkin said. “My job as a teen is to educate my peers about what the Holocaust was and to never forget it, the importance of fighting back against antisemitism, and other hate that’s going on in the world.”