Oct 19, 2016

15th Annual Kristallnacht Film Forum to Feature Riveting Unknown Holocaust Story and Honor Myrna and Dr. David Gross

Commemorating the 78th anniversary of the event considered the start of the Holocaust, the 15th annual Kristallnacht Film Forum (KFF) will once again showcase a compelling Holocaust-related feature. Presented by the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and the March of the Living, “Buried Prayers” will be screened on Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 1:15 and 6:00 p.m. in Zinman Hall on the Federation campus at 9901 Donna Klein Boulevard in Boca Raton.

“Buried Prayers” tells (in English) the unknown story of a group of Jews who, in 1943, stood in a field in Majdanek, a death camp in Poland. Fearing their deaths, they buried their most prized possessions in the soil. After 60 years the survivors returned with an Israeli archaeological team and were given 72 hours by the Polish government to work at the site. Majdanek is one of the concentration camps in Poland that March of the Living participants visit each year.

The screenings will also feature, in person, Matt Mazer, Executive Director and creative force behind the film, and Norman Frajman, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and Majdanek Death Camp and President of the Child Survivors/Hidden Children of the Holocaust Group of Palm Beach County.

“The goal of the Kristallnacht Film Forum is to raise the money needed to support scholarships for both our teens and Holocaust survivors who will attend the 2017 March of the Living,” said Ivy Routman Dash, KFF Chair. “I have been privileged to have gone on the March of the Living on four times - in high school as a teen participant, and three times since as an adult Jewish educator. It is incredible to see the impact this program has on our youth and I am committed to supporting its continued success. I look forward once again staffing the March of the Living again this coming year and to have the opportunity to share this formative experience with Jewish teens from the Southern Region."

Between the two film screenings, a private Donor’s Reception will honor Myrna and Dr. David Gross at 3:45 pm. Donors who contribute $180 or higher to the event may attend the reception and will receive two tickets to the film.

“We are thrilled to have Myrna and Dr. David Gross as our honorees for the Kristallnacht Film Forum,” said Debbie Rudman, local March of the Living Co-Chair. “They have been supportive of the March in so many ways since their children participated in the 1990s, and of our Jewish community for far longer. And this past year they experienced the life-changing March of the Living in person.”

“Each year, the March of the Living takes about 70 of our local high school juniors and seniors through months of preparation, capped by the largest annual gathering of Jewish teens in the world. Our teens are accompanied by local educators, rabbis from all denominations and Holocaust survivors,” said Jack Rosenbaum, March of the Living Southern Region Director. “Together, we travel through the camps, ghettos and communities of Poland. On Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) we march from Auschwitz to Birkenau with more than 12,000 Jews. Then we move on to the joy of Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) celebrating the 69th anniversary of the modern state of Israel.”

“Lifelong Jewish identity is forged into the souls of participants of the March of the Living, and it is our responsibility to see that our local Marchers are not limited only to those who can afford it outright,” added Phyllis Gutmann, local March of the Living Co-Chair. “By featuring quality Holocaust films and commemorating Kristallnacht, KFF is a powerful vehicle to raise funds while educating the public.”

Individual film tickets are available in advance for a $10 donation or $8 with a valid student ID, or $18 at the door. All proceeds support the March of the Living Fund, which enables local high school students to participate in this unique Holocaust education experience capped by travel to Poland and Israel.

Tickets can be purchased and donations made at jewishboca.org/kfftickets, 561.852.3126 or kff@bocafed.org.

“BURIED PRAYERS”

The film “Buried Prayers” tells the unknown story of a group of Jews who in 1943, stood in a field in Majdanek, a death camp in Poland. Fearing their deaths, they buried their most prized possessions in the soil.

After 60 years, two survivors returned to lead an excavation of the largest recovery of valuables from a death camp in history. The Melbourne, Australia-based survivors came back with an Israeli archaeological team and were given 72 hours by the Polish government to work on the site of Field 4 in Majdanek.

This film, in English, tells the story of that event. The filmmakers were instrumental in making the excavation happen. Matt Mazer, the project leader of the excavation and producer of Buried Prayers, and Steven Meyer, the film’s director, tell and participate in the making of this unique one-of-a-kind story.

MYRNA AND DR. DAVID GROSS, 2016 KRISTALLNACHT FILM FORUM HONOREES

Growing up in a traditional Jewish home in Elizabeth, New Jersey and attending yeshiva until 7th grade, Myrna Gross was firmly instilled with Jewish identity and values. After graduating from Emerson College and the New School, University, she used her compassion and desire to make a difference as a teacher and speech pathologist, working with at-risk and profoundly challenged children.

Since moving to South Palm Beach County with David in 1984, Myrna has held many Jewish leadership positions, including serving as president of Donna Klein Jewish Academy, which their children Sam and Shari attended, and as Executive Vice President at B’nai Torah Congregation. Always concerned with educating the next generation, Myrna helped develop teen programming in a trailer on the old Federation campus in East Boca. She also helped Federation establish the Israel Desk for scholarships and the Jewish Education Commission, now the Department of Jewish Education. Myrna also sings in the B’nai Torah Congregation Choir and has recorded three CDs.

David Gross, MD, a psychiatrist whose practice is based in Delray Beach, credits Myrna’s efforts with his own entry into this Jewish community. In addition to in March of the Living, he sustains an interest in chazzanut (cantorial music), and the couple is involved in supporting the concert program at B’nai Torah Congregation.

Raised in New York City, David taught third grade in the South Bronx after graduating from the University of Rochester. Something of a Jewish Florida pioneer, he recalls the couple’s time in Gainesville where he attended the University of Florida College of Medicine, “We kept kosher and had to import our meat by Greyhound bus from Miami. At the time, UF's Hillel was almost non-existent. Now, it is one of the largest in the U.S.! One of the highlights of our Jewish experience in Gainesville was when Elie Wiesel came to town.”

David completed his psychiatric residency at Yale School of Medicine, and spent the following eight years on the school’s psychiatric faculty. “Moving from rural Connecticut to Boca Raton must have agreed with us, for we haven't had any interest in moving on,” he says. And our community is extremely fortunate that Myrna and David have chosen to call South Palm Beach County their home for 32 years.