This page is closed for registration. To register for this event, visit https://events.ujafedny.org/CIHSTribute/register.
For more information, please contact Susan Silverman at or 917.865.5188.
Join us as we honor Gabriella Major with the Ernest W. Michel Memorial Award for her commitment to Holocaust survivors. Despite living through the darkness of the Holocaust, Gabriella has brought light to countless people in need through her dedicated involvement with UJA and in the community.
In her honor, we’ll affirm the vital work of CIHS and its promise to care for the cherished Holocaust Survivors remaining among us.
We are pleased to feature Violins of Hope, an organization that rescues and restores string instruments that survived the Holocaust. Virtuoso Niv Ashkenazi will be performing on one of these violins, celebrating the enduring culture and traditions of those who were silenced.
CIHS cares for the final generation of survivors. Today, nearly 36,000 Holocaust survivors live in the New York area, and approximately 40 percent of them live in poverty. CIHS aims to never forget or abandon, and helps vulnerable survivors receive the care they desperately need.
Donors of $10,000 or more will receive a copy of From One Life, a compilation of five families' Holocaust stories told from the perspective of the descendants of survivors.
Born in Hungary, Gabriella Major is a child of the Holocaust. Her transport to Auschwitz was mistakenly diverted to the Strasshof Concentration Camp in Austria, where she, her mother, and her grandmother faced disease, hunger, and extreme hardship. Tragically, her grandmother perished in the camp, but miraculously, Gabriella and her mother survived. Most of Gabriella’s extended family was murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
Gabriella and her mother reunited with her father — who had survived another slave labor camp — in Hungary, where they lived under Communist rule and again faced persecution for their Jewish beliefs. At the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution, Gabriella prevailed on her family to flee the country: “If you want me to marry a Jewish boy, live a Jewish life, and go to medical school” she said, “we cannot stay here.”
They escaped to Austria and were eventually able to enter the United States, where they began a new life, Gabriella at the helm. She became a social worker, helping people with mental, physical, and emotional disabilities, and worked at a UJA-Federation network partner for more than 30 years before retiring as one of the organization’s vice presidents.
She married Dr. William Major, a psychiatrist and fellow survivor. Together, they raised four beautiful children on Manhattan's Upper East Side and became pillars of the Ramaz/KJ community. Gabriella has served on numerous UJA committees, including the Community Initiative for Holocaust Survivors. She attended two UJA planning missions to Israel and participated in Witness Theater, a program that brings high school students and survivors together to retell the survivors’ stories. Gabriella is passionate about educating students and adults about the horrors and the lessons of the Holocaust and has been telling her story widely over the past eight year including as a docent at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
Gabriella is grateful to have a large family of children and grandchildren and now a great-grandchild, who bring her much joy and happiness.
Virtuoso violinist Niv Ashkenazi has captivated audiences with his heartfelt musicianship and emotional performances. Praised for his “extremely colourful interpretations, characterized by maturity and authority” (Pizzicato Magazine), he has made several Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center appearances and has performed in Europe, the Middle East, and across North America. His conviction that the impact of music serves people beyond the concert stage motivates him to collaborate on projects that create a strong emotional bond with his audience.
In the 2019-2020 season, he was the first ever Artist in Residence at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts. His debut album, Niv Ashkenazi: Violins of Hope, was released in March 2020 on Albany Records to international critical acclaim and was named one of the 10 best classical recordings of 2020 by the Chicago Tribune.
Niv holds both a B.M. and M.M. from The Juilliard School, where his teachers included Itzhak Perlman and Glenn Dicterow.
CIHS Leadership (in formation)
Eugene Major, Rochelle Major, Steven Major, Aliza Major, Deborah Schwartz, Daniel Schwartz, Susan Spievack, Jay Spievack
Honorary Event Chairs
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Audrey Lookstein, Ulrika Citron*, Joel Citron
CIHS Committee Chairs
Staci Barber, Rikki Kaplan, Patti Kenner, Carol Levin, Lynne Wolitzer
CIHS Event Committee
Elianna and Alex Agus, Staci* and John Barber, Miriam and Baruch Deutsch, Renee Barasch, Brenda and Albert Bernstein, Nava Bettinger, Bracha and Marc Bluman, Ruth Brause, Caryn Bukiet, Joel and Ulrika Citron, Bina and Steve Dabbah, Robert de Rothschild, Camille Dunst, Sheri Feigen, Abby Fink and Rabbi Reuven Fink, Karen Friedman, Barbara and Oliver Goldstein, Bennett Golub, Alyssa* and Cliff Greenberg, Julia Gromis*, Linda Jesselson, Rikki* and Barry Kaplan, Karen* and Jay Kasner, Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz, Judy* and Uri Kaufthal, Nancy Petschek Kohn, Patti Askwith Kenner*, Ruth and Larry Kobrin, Yvonne Koppel, Jeane Kraines, Rabbi Daniel and Rachel Kraus, Liz Lange, Vicki and Allen Lefkowitz, Sandy Lenger, Carol* and Jerry Levin, Shelly Lipman, Josh and Georgie Lookstein, Lisa and Nathan Low, Rochelle* and David Ludwig, Gabriella Major, Cara and Cal Major, David Major, Jessica Major, Reuben Major, Sammy Major, William Major, Arlene Mark, Patti Mayrock*, Amy Goldberg Michel*, Mindy and Fred Miller, Lori Moore, Claire Moskowitz, Elayne and Barry Moss*, Suzanne Peck, Marybeth and Jay Petschek, Gail Propp, Joseph and Karen Rafalowicz, Suzi Randolph, Joyce and Stanley Raskas, Doina and Dr. Lawrence Riskin, Debbie and Kenny Rochlin, Pamela and George Rohr, Denise* and Gary Rosenberg, Adena Rosenthal, Esther and Kenny Rubenstein, David Russekoff, Stacey Saiontz, Rebecca Schub, Janie Schwalbe, Anne and Sam Schwartz, Ben Schwartz, Nina and Yishai Schwartz, Jodi Schwartz, William Schwartz, Minna Seitelman, Ruth and Irwin Shapiro, Abigail and Gabriel Siegel, Jane Slotin, Molly Snyder, Ariella Spievack, Elana Spievack, Jonathan Spievack, Rabbi Chaim and Lisa Steinmetz, Ilan and Carrie Stern, Judy Stern, Perri and Akiba Stern, Trudy and Stanley Stern, Judith L. Tanz, Bettina and Spencer Waxman, Dr. Naama and Rabbi Elie Weinstock, Carol* and Michael S. Weisman, Lynne* and Michael Wolitzer, Vivian* and Jim Zelter, Gary Zimmerman
*CIHS Committee Member
Ad Specifications: (full page) 4.5” wide x 7.5” deep; (Benefactor half page) 4.5" wide x 3.625" deep
All ads can be color or black & white, and non-bleed. We accept only digital files — press-resolution PDFs or 300 DPI JPEGS. Ads should not include crop marks or any printers marks. If UJA-Federation is mentioned in the ad, please note it’s spelled with a hyphen and without the article the. Ads submitted should contain a congratulatory message and not promote or advertise a business.
From One Life is a compilation of five families' Holocaust stories told from the perspective of the descendants of the survivors. The book includes historical photographs as well as current photographs of the descendants and hopes to encourage others to keep telling their families’ Holocaust stories. The author and photographer of the book, Lauren Pantzer, is an 11th grade student at The Trinity School in New York City, whose great grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. Through this book Lauren recognizes the importance of her generation learning and educating others about the Holocaust, as her generation is the last who will have been able to know a Holocaust survivor personally. This book, authored by Lauren Pantzer, was generously donated by Tricia and Jason Pantzer.