VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023 is the first observance that Virginia Beach Rabbi Israel Zoberman will spend without his beloved mother.

Holocaust survivor Chasia Zoberman died on April 7 in Haifa, Israel at the age of about 102.5. Her date of birth is unknown.

Chasia Zoberman on her 100th birthday
(Photo courtesy: Rabbi Zoberman)

Over the years, 10 On Your Side has shared stories of how she survived Hitler’s Germany and in recent years, how she survived the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Rabbi Zoberman, the founder of Temple Lev Tikvah, returned from his home country this week with a message and a mission that is inspired by his late mother.

Her name was Chasia which translates to, “God saved her.” Over the decades she shared with her son the horrifying details of the Holocaust.

“I’ve heard their stories of what happened from my family over and over. I’m a child of (a) displaced persons camp. I know how she was on the run throughout the vastness of Russia at wartime. Most of the Jews in Ukraine and Belarus were not shipped to concentration camps and death camps and gas chambers; they were shot in the forest,” said Zoberman while clutching treasured black and white photos of loved ones who survived and those who were captured and killed.

As the world pauses to remember, Rabbi Zoberman issued a warning about a surge in anti-Semitic attacks that are taking place around the world, in Virginia and right here in Hampton Roads.

“We have to be involved; we cannot pretend that these acts of violence, spiritually and psychologically do not affect the entire society ultimately,” said Zoberman.

This son of a survivor said when it comes to hate of all forms, if you see something, say something.

“Indifference aids the haters, so we have to report incidents and we have to complain when we hear anti-Jewish and anti-other people sort of jokes. This is serious business,” said Zoberman, who is also a member of the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission.

Last year the Anti-Defamation League tabulated more than 3,600 anti-Semitic incidents throughout the United States. This is the highest number recorded since 1979.