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Mona at the Piano. The Children of Willesden Lane. Image Provided by The Jewish Federation of Omaha.

Mona at the Piano. The Children of Willesden Lane. Image Provided by The Jewish Federation of Omaha.

By Gabriel Escalera

An Evening with Mona Golabek

March 25th, 2024

Since as early as 1856, Jewish immigrants have been an integral part of Nebraska’s cultural tapestry, bringing with them their rich traditions and aspirations for a better life. The formation of the Congregation of Israel in 1868 marked the genesis of organized Jewish community life in Nebraska. However, it was a second wave of immigrants in 1882 that truly cemented the foundation of what would become the vibrant Jewish community in Omaha today.

One of the driving forces behind preserving and celebrating this heritage is Pam Monsky, the Assistant Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council at the Jewish Federation of Omaha. Monsky sees the Federation as more than just an administrative body; rather, it serves as a bridge connecting the Jewish community with others, fostering understanding and collaboration.

Recently, Monsky stumbled upon a profound literary work that captured her attention: “The Children of Willesden Lane.” This book tells the poignant story of a young Jewish woman named Lisa Jura, who narrowly escaped the horrors of the Holocaust. Despite the immense challenges she faced, Jura clung to her dream of becoming a concert classical pianist, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Mona Golabek, the founder of the “Hold On To Your Music Foundation,” shares a deeply personal connection to Jura’s story. As a celebrated concert pianist herself, Golabek not only honors her mother’s legacy but also endeavors to preserve the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. In collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Omaha, Golabek will share her mother’s remarkable journey and educate communities about the enduring lessons of the Holocaust.

Scott Littky, Executive Director of the Institute for Holocaust Education, underscores the importance of such programs in preserving collective memory. He emphasizes that as time passes, historical events risk fading into obscurity, making it imperative to actively engage with and learn from the past.

An Evening with Pianist Mona Golabek, featuring “The Children of Willesden Lane,” promises to be a moving and enlightening experience. Taking place on Thursday, March 28th, at the Holland Center, the event welcomes attendees aged 12 and older to witness the power of music and storytelling in honoring the resilience of the human spirit.

For more information, you can visit: An Evening with Mona Golabek