Congregation Beth Shalom dedicates new Holocaust memorial and plaza

Arnie Sisk, second from the left, stands with CBS leaders, politicians and law enforcement officials at the dedication of the Holocaust Memorial and Sisk Plaza on Jan. 20, 2019. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

Arnie Sisk watched as the latest additions to Congregation Beth Shalom, a Holocaust memorial sculpture and a surrounding plaza, were dedicated on Saturday.

Sisk Plaza, as it’s called, memorialized Sisk’s late wife, Candi.

“(This) gave me an opportunity to share with them my great joy of having this memorial for Candi,” he said. “She was quite a lady.”

Speakers at the dedication included Rabbi Ron Hauss, Men’s Club president David Simon and CBS president Rob Cohen, among others, as well as local politicians and law enforcement officials

Members of Congregation Beth Shalom, along with other guests from across Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County, listen to different speakers before the Holocaust Memorial sculpture is unveiled. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

Each year, CBS’s Men’s Club works to educate the community about the Holocaust. Last year, it was decided that a permanent installation would continue to remind people of what happened, said Hauss. Within a short time period, CBS received so many donations to cover the installation that the remaining funds went into the synagogue’s Holocaust education program, Hauss said.

When deciding on a date for a dedication, Hauss said International Holocaust Remembrance Day coincided well with Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

“We decided the lesson of the Holocaust is not a lesson just for the Jewish people, it’s a lesson for the world,” Hauss said. “That while there were 6 million Jews who became victims of the Nazis, there were 6 million people that were not Jews who in various ways were looked upon as not being worthy to exist by the Nazi regime.”

Abstract sculptor Granville Beals was commissioned to create a sculpture, which incorporated chains, railroad tracks and numerological references reflected in Judaism. Simon surrounded the base with plaques featuring quotes from Simon Wiesenthal, George Santayana, Yehuda Bauer and Elie Wiesel.

“But to intend a meaning as the one to be conveyed in a Holocaust memorial sculpture is unlike anything, believe me, anything that I have ever done,” Beals said. “For it required that I stare into the face of a very disturbing side of inhumanity in order to fully understand what I needed to do.”

Sculptor Granville Beals talks about what went into creating the sculpture before its unveiling at the dedication; a smaller copy stands next his podium on a table. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

Sisk wanted to make a significant contribution to the fundraising efforts in memory of Candi. The Men’s Club asked if he would dedicate the plaza, which featured a commemorative plaque to Candi attached with the quote, “A life that touches others goes on forever.”

“It gives me hope that everybody isn’t a jerk,” Sisk said. “There’s people that kind of get it, and that’s what it means to me. Because I want people to get it, I want people to understand that we’re not alike, we’re hugely different, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get along. And this I think just brought that together and focused on it.”

Sisk beheld the plaza and added, “It’s quite good for humanity.”

Arnie Sisk stands beside the plaque dedicated to his late wife Candi, at Congregation Beth Shalom. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

To learn more about Sisk, read The Signal’s recent profile on him here.

CBS is located at 21430 Centre Pointe Pkwy, Santa Clarita.

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