Gabriel Paknia's Eagle Project
Hello everyone! As a congregant of Beth Israel Chabad, I have always valued being a part of the Synagogue and the Jewish community overall. While talking to Rebbetzin Hecht about potential ways I could aid the Synagogue, something immediately drew my attention: all of the cemetery records were on paper. Not only did this make the job of the Rabbi very difficult, having to sift through unorganized records upon looking for information, but it also made it difficult for family of the deceased to view this priceless information intimately and with ease. Given the historical context of Jewish record-indexing, creating a permanent platform for these records became all the more important to me.
The tragedy of the Holocaust and Nazism devastated the Jewish people. According to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, an estimated 6 million Jews were murdered. Entire communities of people perished: 90% of Poland’s 3.3 million Jews were killed in the war. Not only were these lives lost in such a disgusting and brutal manner, but we as a people lost something essential to our past and our identity: records. Records, as simple as they are beautiful, help communities remember their past, honor them, and create a larger identity. This right, along with many others, were stripped from our people; it is now our duty to track our past. So no, I cannot recover the precious records of our ancestors who perished in the Holocaust, but I can work with the ones we have have. Thus, it became my initiative to make the cemetery records of my Synagogue permanent, never to be lost, and always to be remembered. Given the gift of modern technology, it was time that I give our congregation the opportunity to directly interact with these records. So please, look at them, track your genealogy, and honor our identity.