Never Again: A Speech from Lavi Ohana


My name is Lavi Ohana.

I am a student, I am Jewish, I am an American, and I am Israeli. I am speaking to you today to acknowledge and commemorate an important but often unrecognized day in our global calendar. I am here to bring your attention to Holocaust remembrance day. In many schools here and abroad students have a moment of silence to remember all the people who perished in the Holocaust. As members of the human race, we are taught to stop and remember all the Jewish men women, and children, as well as other disenfranchised people who were subject to these evils and the dark days of our collective human history. I stand before you not to lecture or burden you in any way. I come to remind you of all of the words that every Jewish person has been taught since we could understand language “never again, never again”. Since I was a little boy learning at Hebrew school in Juruslem these are the words we were taught to remind us that we should never let horrors like those committed by the Nazis under the Third Reich ever happen again. My great-grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. Her name was Ludmila Vei-ner. She lived in a Jewish ghetto in eastern Ukraine occupied by the Nazis. She survived and that is how I am able to share my words with you all today. The phrase “NEVER AGAIN” echoes in my mind every time I read another email, or hear about swastikas being drawn in our school in the year 2023. The swastika is a symbol that sparked the extinction of my people. It was the flame that harbored some of the most hateful crimes humanity has ever bared witnessed. We as the student body have the responsibility to connect with one another. Fostering these connections is far more important than any grade you will ever receive on any test. These connections establish emotion. They allow us to care for one another, and feel each other’s pain, happiness, and energy. I ask you all to reflect on the friendships you have made here. The people you call friends may in fact be Jewish. Remember, that what you do affects everyone not only in this school but in the world. Rather than contribute to the mass hate in this world, we must contribute to the progression of connection.

Remember this day and all the innocent lives lost for simply being different, for believing differently, for loving differently, for celebrating differently, and for being Jewish. Remember that this day commemorates all the sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and friends lost by evils beyond our comprehension. Educate anyone you can and pass on these words “NEVER AGAIN”!!

Thank you for your time, John Jay