Category Archives: Anti-Semitism


Songs of Truth: Honoring Holocaust Survivors through Music and Multimedia at Benicia Clock Tower this Friday, June 2

Songs of Truth honors and humanizes Holocaust victims and their enduring legacies through music and multimedia storytelling. | Image by Luke George Photography, provided by Larnie Fox.

Submitted by Larnie Fox, May 30, 2023

Join the Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and its Benicia Chapter chorus at Benicia’s Clock Tower Friday, June 2, 2023, at 7:30 pm. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Songs of Truth is a collaborative project between the orchestra, Citizen Film, Holocaust Music Lost and Found and the Benicia Performing Arts Foundation. This initiative aims to promote Holocaust awareness, celebrate the spirit of those who persisted, and inspire action against antisemitism and hatred in all its forms.

A Tribute to Resilience

The concert program features heartbreakingly beautiful music, much of it written in WWII era concentration camps, performed by the full orchestra and both the San Francisco and Benicia Choruses. Most of this music has never been performed by an orchestra before. Songs of Truth seeks to humanize the victims of the Holocaust and honor their enduring legacies.

Multimedia Storytelling

To enhance the impact of the music, multimedia documentary storytelling will be interwoven throughout the concerts. Kate Stilley Steiner, co-founder of Citizen Film, will provide historical context and tell the life stories of the composers through a suite of documentary media clips. Her husband, Urs Leonhardt Steiner is the Founder and charismatic Conductor of the Golden Gate Symphony.

Beyond the Concert Hall

The Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra and its Benicia Chapter chorus will perform at Benicia’s Clock Tower Friday, June 2, 2023, at 7:30 pm. | Image by Luke George Photography, provided by Larnie Fox.

In addition to the concerts, Songs of Truth has extended its impact beyond the stage by engaging with Bay Area schools, libraries, and community centers. Small ensembles from the GGSOC have been performing program excerpts and leading facilitated discussions, free of charge. These events, performed at venues such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Benicia High School and many others, aim to foster dialogue, educate younger generations, and inspire action against antisemitism.

Looking Ahead

Songs of Truth is not just a one-time event but a project with a lasting impact. After its premiere, the initiative will be made available to other organizations across the nation. The music will be distributed to youth orchestras and choruses, enabling young musicians to perform these powerful compositions and learn about their historical context. A classroom curriculum is being developed in collaboration with Holocaust Music Lost and Found to further promote Holocaust awareness and inspire critical thinking.

Promoting Inclusivity and Unity

The Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra and Chorus have a long-standing commitment to creating an inclusive atmosphere for diverse audiences. In line with this mission, for their San Francisco concert, offering a limited number of free tickets to underserved communities, ensuring that Songs of Truth reaches as many individuals as possible.

Resilience and Creativity

Songs of Truth stands as a testament to the resilience and creativity of Holocaust survivors and victims. Join the Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for a transformative experience that celebrates the strength of the human spirit and fosters a more compassionate and tolerant world.

To learn more about Songs of Truth, or contribute to this important project, please visit the Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra’s website at

Clock Tower – Benicia – June 2, 7:30 pm
Herbst Theatre – San Francisco – June 4, 2:00 pm

Tickets and information:

VIDEO: Benicians gather in City Park, take a stand against hate

By Roger Straw, November 2, 2018

I hope to write up a short story about this important event when I get a few minutes.  Until then, MANY MANY thanks to all who showed up, to Rev. Dr. Mary Susan Gast for planning and leading the vigil, and to Dr. Constance Beutel, for this beautiful 20-minute video capturing much of the gathered spirit.  (Note that the first 5 or 10 seconds of this video are silent…)

Benicians asked to stand against hate on Thursday, 11/1, City Park

Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald

Benicians asked to stand against hate on Thursday

By JOHN GLIDDEN, October 31, 2018 at 7:02 pm
5:30 p.m. Thursday (TODAY!), City Park Gazebo, First Street & Military West

BENICIA — A week after 13 people were violently killed in two separate shooting sprees, local residents have put together an impromptu gathering asking Benicians to stand against hate.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m., Thursday near the City Park Gazebo, located along First Street and Military West.

“Gather in solidarity, in song, in remembrance of those killed in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, in commitment to our common humanity,” according to an event flier.

One of the organizers, the Rev. Mary Susan Gast said that Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson is scheduled to office words of encouragement, Poet Laureate Tom Stanton will present a poem, while the Mourner’s Kaddish, a traditional prayer for the dead, will be offered in Hebrew.

“We will reflect on our unity as a nation and community of diversity,” she added.

Two African Americans were shot and killed in a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky on Oct. 24, which authorities are investigating as a hate crime.

Gregory Bush, a 51-year-old Caucasian man, has been accused of killing Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Jones, 67, inside the Jeffersontown grocery store and outside the location, respectively.

Bush allegedly, prior to the shooting, attempted to enter a predominantly black church but was unable to get inside.

Then last Saturday, Robert Bowers entered Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue killing 11 people in one of the deadliest attack on Jewish individuals in U.S. history.

Bowers was indicted Wednesday on 44 federal charges, including 11 counts for obstructing religious freedom resulting in death and 11 counts of committing violent crime using a firearm.