Commemorating Yom HaShoah

Commemorating Yom HaShoah

This year, Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day – is Monday, April 28, and many people mark the Annual Gathering of Remembrance on Sunday, April 27. The days will be commemorated in many local synagogues, community centers, schools, and other institutions, starting this week and continuing into the following weeks.

This is the list of gatherings we have heard about, accurate as of press time. Check with your local institutions for more information.

April 24


The sisterhoods of Temples Emanuel of the Pascack Valley in Woodcliff Lake and Beth Or in Washington Township and the Pascack Valley/Northern Valley chapter of Hadassah join to sponsor a community Yom HaShoah commemoration program at Temple Emanuel at 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Tamara Reps Freeman, a Holocaust ethnomusicologist, violinist, and music educator, will narrate and perform songs of strength and resilience from the World War II ghettos and camps. She performs on a 1935 viola, which is a Holocaust relic. There will be a special candle lighting ceremony. Coffee and dessert will follow. 87 Overlook Drive in Woodcliff Lake, (201) 391-0801.

April 27


Harry Ettlinger, one of the few surviving members of the Monuments Men, an Allied task force that returned art looted by the Nazis to its rightful owners at the end of World War II, speaks at the Glen Rock Jewish Center Men’s Club breakfast. Minyan at 8:45 a.m.; program at 9:30. 682 Harristown Road. (201) 652-6624.


Congregation Beth Sholom hosts its annual M&M Memorial Yom HaShoah Remembrance Day program and brunch, 10:30 a.m. Film, television, and theater actress Carol Lempert performs her one-woman performance, “After Anne Frank,” which interweaves Lempert’s stories from performing as each of the female Franks (Edith, Margot, and Anne) with the oral history of her uncle, a Holocaust survivor. The M&M Memorial Fund that sponsors an annual Holocaust program was established by Abe and Fran (neé Melamed) Morgenstern at Congregation Beth Israel in Bergenfield prior to the shul’s merger with CBS. 354 Maitland Ave. (201) 833-2620 or


Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York hosts a community-wide commemoration at 2 p.m. The annual Gathering of Remembrance, New York City’s largest and oldest Holocaust commemoration, brings together 2,000 people, including Holocaust survivors and their families. It is organized by the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, and the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization.

The Anti-Defamation League, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, the Council of Young Jewish Presidents, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the Jewish Labor Committee, the New York Board of Rabbis, and the UJA-Federation of New York are cosponsors. Fifth Avenue and 65th Street. (646) 437-4227 or


Shomrei Torah, the Wayne Conservative Synagogue, hosts the 71st anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Yom HaShoah commemoration, and Yizkor – a remembrance service for the six million Jewish martyrs. It is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s Holocaust Memorial Committee. There will be a photo exhibit on view beginning at 2:30 p.m., followed by a program at 3. Edwin Black, an award-winning New York Times journalist and author of “IBM and the Holocaust,” “The Farhud,” and “Nazi Nexus,” is the keynote speaker. 30 Hinchman Ave. (973) 696-2500 or Dr. Wallace Greene, (201) 873-3263.


Congregation B’nai Jacob and Temple Beth-El of Jersey City and the United Synagogue of Hoboken join to hold the 49th annual Yom HaShoah observance at B’nai Jacob at 3 p.m. There will be survivor testimony, candle lighting, and a performance by the USH Choir with Cantor Marsha Dubrow, Rabbi Debra Hachen, and Rabbi Robert Scheinberg. 176 West Side Ave. (201) 435-5725 or


The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades offers its annual Yom Hashoah commemoration, including a candle lighting ceremony, at 7 p.m. Herbert Kolb, a survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp, is the keynote speaker. Mr. Kolb was born in Nuremberg, where his father was a leader in the Nuremburg Jewish community before the war. He and his parents were deported on the last transport to Theresienstadt, where he worked as a carpenter for two years. He and his parents survived. After the war he returned to Nuremburg to collect documents on the remnants of Jewish community that survived the war. He has exhibited those documents in museums in both New Jersey and in Germany.

A highlight of the evening is the presentation of the annual Abe Oster Holocaust Remembrance Award to a high school student who completed a project demonstrating a moral understanding of the Shoah. This year, students have been asked to participate in a Poetry Slam, challenging applicants to create an original videotaped poem or narrative monologue that communicates the relevance of the Holocaust in the 21st century.

Program made possible through the Martin Perlman & Jo-Ann Hassan Holocaust Education Institute. 411 East Clinton Ave. Jessica Spiegel, (201) 408-1426 or


Congregation Ahavath Torah offers a tribute to those who were murdered in the Holocaust by presenting the testimony of those who survived. Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, former director of the department for the righteous at Yad Vashem and an authority on rescue during the Holocaust, is the guest speaker at the community-wide event, 7 p.m. Doors open at 5 for viewing of cherished mementos.

Remembrance is co-sponsored by Ahavath Torah, East Hill Synagogue, Kehillat Kesher, and Kol HaNeshamah. 240 Broad Avenue. (201) 568-1315.


Holocaust survivor Hanna Wechsler was liberated from Auschwitz when she was 5 years old. She will share her story at Congregation B’nai Israel at 7 p.m.

For over 30 years, Ms. Wechsler has taught Holocaust studies and other subjects as an educator at the shul. She continues to share her story and recollections there on a volunteer basis and also speaks at area colleges, high schools, and Holocaust museums.

The evening also includes inspirational readings and the shul’s annual candle-lighting ceremony. 53 Palisade Ave. (201) 265-2272 or


Congregation Beth Shalom holds a program with two Holocaust survivors, candle lighting ceremony, and readings, including a new poem by a 15-year-old congregant, 7 p.m. The Pompton Lakes and Kinnelon communities will also participate. 21 Passaic Ave. (973) 835-3500.


Ridgewood’s interfaith Holocaust memorial service is at Temple Israel & Jewish Community Center, 7:30 p.m. Bonnie Gurewitsch, the Donald Fellows Holocaust Education Memorial Endowment speaker, will discuss “Sanctifying Life and God’s Name: Resistance and the Spirit.” Ms. Gurewitsch recently retired as curator and archivist at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Manhattan.

Rabbi David J. Fine, Ph.D., and Cantor Caitlin Bromberg of Temple Israel will lead this annual service, joined by the members of Ridgewood’s Interfaith Council, the pastors, ministers and imam of the village’s many faith communities. Rituals from various traditions and the offering of special prayers will be included to mark Yom Hashoah. Survivors and relatives of survivors will conclude the service with a candle lighting ceremony. 475 Grove St. (201) 444-9320 or


Rabbi Neil Winkler or Young Israel of Fort Lee introduces a film “No Place on Earth,” the Holocaust experience of congregant/benefactor Ulo Barad, at 8 p.m. Mincha is at 7:30; Ma’ariv follows the program. 1610 Parker Ave., at Old Palisade Road. (201) 592-1518.

April 28


The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust offers free admission during a daylong Yom HaShoah observance at the museum.

Hear personal stories from artifact donors, Holocaust survivors, and their families, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Until 5:45 p.m., visitors are welcome to spend time in Andy Goldsworthy’s Garden of Stones, a contemplative space at the museum. The garden was planted by Goldsworthy and Holocaust survivors and their families in 2003. 36 Battery Place. (646) 437-4202 or


Moshe Baran was last year’s speaker at the Teaneck Yom HaShoah program.

The Teaneck Holocaust Commemoration Committee invites all local area Holocaust survivors and their families to participate in a dessert reception at 6 p.m., at Teaneck High School. Singer/entertainer Chaim Kiss will perform Yiddish and Hebrew songs, accompanied by Binyomin Ginzberg from

The main program is set for 7:30 in the THS auditorium. Holocaust survivor Irving Roth, the keynote speaker, survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald; he was 15 at liberation. He and his son, Rabbi Dr. Edward S. Roth, co-authored and published “Bondi’s Brother,” a book about his experiences before, during, and after the Holocaust.

The Yavneh Choirs – the school’s Junior Chorus and Middle School Concert Choir, directed by Marsha Greenberg Motzen – will perform. A special premier performance of an Avraham Rosenblum melody arranged by Steve Cohen for the children’s choir will be performed, accompanied by violin soloist Esther Meir. 100 Elizabeth Ave. Dena Levie, (917) 334-0937 or

April 30


River Dell Hadassah, the Friends of the River Edge Library, and the River Edge Cultural Center host a screening of “We Are Still Here,” a documentary by Evan Kleinman, at the River Edge Public Library, 1 p.m. Mr. Kleinman, four-time Emmy nominee, will introduce the program and lead a post-film discussion. 685 Elm Ave. (201) 261-1663.

May 1


In commemoration of Yom HaShoah, the Chabad Jewish Center of NW Bergen County presents “The Mitzvah,” a one-person drama for the stage, conceived, performed, and co-authored by actor and child of a Holocaust survivor, Roger Grunwald, 7:30 p.m. Performance followed by a lecture and audience discussion by Mr. Grunwald. “The Mitzvah” is directed and co-authored by Broadway veteran Annie McGreevey. 375 Pulis Ave. (201) 848-0449.

May 4


The Young Israel of Fort Lee will dedicate a repaired/restored Holocaust Torah entrusted to it by the Holocaust Torah Memorial Trust/Westminster Synagogue in

London, England, at 11 a.m. The 200-year-old Torah was restored and dedicated in memory of congregant Ulo Barad by his family. Light lunch. 1610 Parker Ave. (201) 592-1518 or

May 7


Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, speaks for the Chabad Jewish Center of Upper Passaic County at the Wanaque Golden Age Club at 7:30 p.m. Dr. Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center in Jeruselem, is an American-born Israeli historian who has played an important role in the efforts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice during the past 29 years. He will discuss his role in “Operation: Last Chance,” which he launched in 2002. After the lecture, Dr. Zuroff will sign copies of his new book, “Operation Last Chance: One Man’s Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice.” 10 Villa Place. (201) 696-7609 or

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