The Jewish Federation of Northern NJ held its Holocaust commemoration on April 11 at Temple Beth Sholom in Fair Lawn. The stories of local Holocaust survivors Inge Roman of Teaneck, Jenny Sommer of Hackensack, Isaac York of Fair Lawn, Jerry Reuter of Cliffside Park, and Arkadiy Fridman of Fair Lawn were read by Miri Goodman of Paramus, Julia Holzsager of Fair Lawn, Miles Cutler of Fair Lawn, Dennis Vink of Fair Lawn, and Robert Trosten of Franklin Lakes. (Miles Cutler is Isaac York’s grandson.) Survivor Elizabeth Lorber of Fair Lawn was unable to attend. Another survivor, David Libeskind of Fair Lawn, led the Kaddish. Hadassah Lieberman, whose parents were survivors, was the keynote speaker.
The commemoration featured an exhibit by an Israeli Holocaust survivor, artist Shmuel Leitner. Several rabbis led a procession carrying rescued Czech Torahs that now are housed at Barnert Temple, Fair Lawn Jewish Center/CBI, the Glen Rock Jewish Center, Shomrei Torah in Wayne, and Temple Beth El of Northern Valley. Children carrying yahrzeit candles followed them. Musical accompaniment was by Cantor Ilan Mamber and Gale S. Bindelglass. The federation’s president, Stephanie Goldman, addressed the gathering. Rosalind Melzer and Allyn Michaelson chair the federation’s Holocaust Commemoration Committee.
Rabbi Aaron Katz lead a community Yom HaShoah service at Congregation B’nai Jacob in Jersey City with participation of area shuls including Rabbi Robert Scheinberg and choir from United Synagogue of Hoboken, and Rabbi Leana Morrit of Temple Beth-El in Jersey City. Aristo Strings performed inspirational music and speakers included Galit Peleg, head of the Department for Public Diplomacy and Academic Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, and Carla Main, whose father wrote the first curriculum for teaching the Holocaust to young people in high schools in 1973.
Dr. Sylvia Flescher, a long-time member of Temple Israel & Jewish Community Center in Ridgewood, told her family’s story during the 32nd annual interfaith Holocaust remembrance ceremony at TI-JCC on April 8.
She talked about being the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who had lost his entire family, and about the surprising discovery that connected her to long-lost relatives in Poland in unexpected ways. Dr. Flescher took a trip to Europe, sponsored by the Holocaust Education Foundation, that included visits to death camps and Holocaust memorials and culminated in the discovery of a wartime diary written by her father’s cousin. The diaries detailed the experiences Jews endured in Stanislavov, Poland, under Nazi rule.
The ceremony included readings by clergy from Ridgewood houses of worship as well as musical performances — the world premiere of “Anne Frank Postlude” for choir, soprano solo, and harp by Adam Har-Zvi; the Heimat String Quartet, which performed “Fantazie a Fuga,” composed by Gideon Klein while he was interned in the Terezin concentration camp; and the Village School Senior Chorus and Interfaith Adult Choir.
The sisterhood of Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley and Pascack Valley/Northern Valley Hadassah sponsored a community Holocaust commemoration program on April 11 at Temple Emanuel in Woodcliff Lake. Erwin Ganz talked about being a young boy in Nazi Germany, before, during, and after Kristallnacht. Students participated in a candle-lighting ceremony.
Congregation B’nai Israel in Emerson commemorated Yom HaShoah with a candlelighting ceremony where congregants and Hebrew school students participated. Students also presented readings of journals and stories of children during the Holocaust.