ALBANY– As part of the Capital District Jewish community’s annual Yom HaShoah commemoration, the Capital District Board of Rabbis and Cantors will present “25044, “a one-act play written and performed by Russell Kaback, on Sunday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. The a solo musical and Yom HaShoah program will be held at Ohav Shalom Synagogue, 113 New Krumkill Rd., Albany. Also featured will be prayers and, reflections and Yom HaShoah readings. The commemoration program is free and open to the community.
Enhanced security is scheduled and pre-registration is required.
The play is a based on the life of Kaback’s grandfather Szyjek Magier, who as a Polish Jewish teen spent four years in the Nazi labor and concentration camps. His play weaves together original songswritten by by Kaback that he will perform on his guitar. The play, which is intended for audiences ages 13 and up, ties together personal interviews, testimonies and research.
“It is fitting that Russ Kaback, who spent so much time in our shul while growing up, will be our featured guest to commemorate the Shoah this year,” said Rabbi Dan Ornstein of Ohav Shalom. “Many have noted that the traumatic events of October 7 mark the most vicious and widespread attacks upon Jews, simply for being Jews, since the Shoah. Therefore, it is even more critical to our Jewish community, that we gather together to remember. When done properly, revisiting our historic traumas can be an important part of healing.”
Kaback (writer, composer, performer) is a musician and educator based in South Portland, Maine. He teaches in K-12 classrooms, and writes, produces and performs original music. He received the 2016 Joel and Linda Abromson Award and the 2018 Maine Arts Commission Project Grant in support of bringing his musical story, based on his grandfather’s experience during the Holocaust, into schools in Maine. This work has been performed in venues in Maine and Massachusetts since 2014, at the PortFringe festival in Portland, and in his grandfather’s hometown of Bendzin, Poland in 2018. In 2022 he began collaboration with storyteller Antonio Rocha to create the one-man musical storytelling version of the show, titled “25044.” The performance debuted in Turner, Maine in March 2023.
“I consider it an honor to share “25044” with the Albany community, especially at Ohav Shalom where I have spent so much time, and where my parents attend shul,” said Kaback. “I am looking forward to being with so many familiar faces as we go relive my grandfather’s story and together experience what it takes to go from darkness to light. That’s so important now, as we commemorate Yom HaShoah while Jewish hostages remain in the hands of terrorists, and while we, as a people, are experiencing such a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism.”
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