Jewish Community of Piedmont hosts ‘Truth & Remembrance’ multi-sensory exhibit featuring Israeli musician Orion Stone

An event attendee pausing in front of the photography exhibit.

The Jewish Community of Piedmont hosted a free multisensory exhibit entitled “Truth & Remembrance” at the Piedmont Center for the Arts on Wednesday, May 15. 

In a joint collaboration with the The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Eretz Israel Museum, the exhibition featured creative installations to help the community remember and bear witness to all those who have lost their lives in the horrors of October 7th and its aftermath, as well as the 132 hostages still being held captive in Gaza. Approximately 200 people attended the exhibit throughout the evening, and enjoyed musical interludes by Israeli musician, Orion Stone, whose three family members were murdered and nine kidnapped on October 7th.  

Between songs in both English and Hebrew, Orion Stone shared the horrifying experiences of his family on October 7th and in the days and months after, as well as messages of freedom, hope and humanity. “Music has the magical power to make real change in the world,” he said. “Music not only touches our hearts, it inspires action. Don’t underestimate your own influence. I’ve witnessed the profound impact of individual voices creating an unstoppable ripple effect. Each of us must be the voice of those that cannot be heard, and desperately need us all to bring them home and end this horrific war.”

Stone went on to explain that the hostages are not just an Israeli issue, or a Jewish problem. “This is a human problem,” he said. “Time is running out for the hostages. We need to focus on the living, not on revenge. Our grandparents fled the Holocaust to create a better future in Israel. Not to plot their revenge.”

Like the Empty Shabbat Table hosted in Piedmont in November, which reached hundreds of people in the Piedmont, Oakland and Berkeley communities and beyond, event organizers hoped this installation delivered the messages of “Truth & Remembrance” to those broader communities once again.

The exhibit was the brainchild of local caterer and educator, Aliza Grayevsky Somekh, who created a similar exhibit for Israel’s Day of Remembrance at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland on Sunday, May 12. “I wanted to bring these powerful images and messages to the community beyond the local synagogues,” Grayevsky Somekh explained. “Collaborating with the Piedmont Jewish group was a natural step. We have worked together before (on the Hanukkah concert and Holocaust Remembrance Day event) and our events are always beautiful and important.” 

Aliza Grayevsky Somekh, who brought the photography exhibit from the Jewish Agency for Israel, delivers remarks.

Lisa Tabak, Senior Director of Philanthropy, East Bay at the Jewish Community Federation, a main sponsor of the exhibit, expressed her appreciation for the collaborative nature of the event. “The Federation supports the Jewish Community of Piedmont in their community building efforts, and especially this event featuring a very special installation from the Jewish Agency for Israel in honor of Yom HaZikaron (Day of Remembrance),” she said.

This event was held at Piedmont Center for the Arts, a venue in central Piedmont dedicated to bringing art to the residents of Piedmont and the surrounding communities. As part of its mission to recognize and promote diversity, the Center’s board president, Sue Malick, said, “Piedmont Center for the Arts was honored to host Truth and Remembrance and its moving photographic tribute to all those innocent Palestinian and Israeli souls touched by the ongoing tragedy that began on October 7th. It was an evening for the community to quietly gather to contemplate and grieve, movingly accompanied by gifted Israeli pianist Orion Stone.”

The exhibit featured:

  • A video and sound presentation entitled “Local Testimony – War Diary Video”, by the Eretz Israel Museum
  • A photography exhibition entitled “Yad Achot (Sisterhood)”, by the Jewish Agency of Israel
  • Musical interludes by Orion Stone, an Israeli musician whose family members were murdered and kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th
  • A candlelit memorial.
Organizers pictured (from l to r): Sharon Sagiv, Donna Friedman Meir, Aliza Grayevsky Somekh, Nicki Gilbert, Melanie Marcus, and Sari Kaplan

The event was organized by Piedmont residents Donna Friedman Meir, Nicki Gilbert, Sari Kaplan, Melanie Marcus and Sharon Sagiv, as well as local Bay Area caterer and educator Aliza Grayevsky Somekh of Bishulim Caterers.

Event sponsors included the Jewish Community Federation, Temple Beth Abraham, Piedmont Center for the Arts, and Piedmont Education Foundation.

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