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Yad Vashem sound and light show to highlight lost communities

The new immersive audio-video experience will use laser technology to tell the 2,000-year story of Jewish life in Europe.

The Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Credit: Yad Vashem.
The Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Credit: Yad Vashem.

Yad Vashem is planning a multimillion-dollar, state of the art sound and light show as part of a family-oriented educational center at the Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial, to tell the story of Jewish communities lost in the Holocaust.

The project, which is being funded in part by the European Union, is taking place at the Holocaust Memorial’s “Valley of the Communities” in an effort to reach out to youth and teens who visit the site, Yad Vashem officials said.

“It is only by telling the story of the vibrant Jewish life that existed before the Holocaust that we can fully understand the enormity, the magnitude of that which was tragically lost during the devastation of the Shoah,” Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan told JNS.

Thousands of Jewish communities that existed and flourished in Europe and North Africa were obliterated during the Holocaust. Tucked away in the Jerusalem Forest on the edge of the Mount of Remembrance, Yad Vashem’s “Valley of the Communities,” the mostly- secluded outdoor memorial to Jewish life destroyed in the Holocaust was first inaugurated three decades ago.

The massive, 2.5-acre monument, dug out of natural Jerusalem bedrock, has the names of over 5,000 Jewish communities engraved on its walls.

The new immersive audio-video experience will use laser technology to infuse the towering stone walls of the valley with light, to tell the 2,000-year story of Jewish life in Europe and inspire visitors of all ages. 

It will operate after sundown seven to eight months of the year, according to Dayan.

In a second stage of the project, an educational center will be built at the site.

“This experience will revive and rekindle the history of these communities that were lost,” said Dayan.

In a video clip announcing E.U. funding financing for the project, President of the European Commission Urusula von der Leyen said that “we must keep telling the horrors of the Holocaust and never forget,” adding, “Europe wouldn’t be what it is today without Jewish culture, values and contributions to science.”

The project, which is currently underway, is expected to debut in the spring of 2024.

550,000 people visited Yad Vashem last year.

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