tom sanders

Hillel, Cal Poly’s Jewish cultural club, will be remembering the Holocaust with many on-campus events throughout the week which began Monday with a display in the University Union to educate people about the Holocaust.

Today the club will celebrate National Holocaust Remembrance Day on Dexter lawn and in the UU Plaza with the Reading of the Names between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Members, students and various people will be reading the names of the 6 million victims who died in the Holocaust.

Hillel is a nonprofit Jewish organization on campus which has monthly Shabbat dinners and events for Israel and different Jewish holidays, said Michael David, a computer engineering sophomore and the correspondent between Alpha Epsilon Phi and Hillel. The club “brings students together and provides a social environment for them,” David said.

Throughout the week, the club will be collecting pennies and change which will be sent to the Save Darfur organization to help end the genocide in Sudan.

Each penny represents 1,000 lives lost in the Holocaust. The club’s goal was to raise 60,000 pennies by National Holocaust Remembrance Day, said Ronny Beer, a history sophomore and vice president for the club. That goal has already been accomplished.

“The fact that we’ve had so much support for the club is amazing,” Beer said. The club began the penny drive in September and has been working on it all year.

“We’ve received a strong commitment from members in general,” Beer said. “An important part of being Jewish is to help people around you or those in need. We just want to do what we can to help the people of Darfur.”

Most of the money raised has come from Hillel dinners, which are held the first Friday of every month at Chris Jesperson Elementary School and are open to the public. The optional service begins at 6:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. The next dinner will be May 5, and will have a Mexican theme for Cinco de Mayo.

On Wednesday, a booth in the UU Plaza will display facts and pictures from the Holocaust and a second booth on Dexter lawn will display information on the genocide in Darfur. Double-stick tape, which will include a timeline of other genocides, will connect the two booths where “people, we hope, will be leaving money on it (the tape) for the collection effort,” Beer said. “I think it’s amazing people have been so generous and wanting to help the cause.”

The events will continue Thursday with the showing of the documentary “Paper Clips” at 8 p.m. in Room 213 in the business building. The award-winning documentary is about a middle school in Tennessee that wanted to collect 6 million paper clips to honor the 6 million victims of the Holocaust and ended up raising 27 million, David said.

Hillel’s motto is “never again never forget.”

“The genocide, regardless of religion or race, is terrible,” David said. “There is no reason people should be mass murdered. We’re trying to educate (people) so that it never happens again. A genocide is a terrible thing and there’s no reason there should be hate between people.”

Those interested in helping out with today’s reading or the week’s events can contact Brooke Horn at BHorn@calpoly.edu. For more information on the club visit www.hillelofsanluisobispo.org. or to get involved in a greater campaign visit www.savedarfur.com

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