Community Life

Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) Observances in Scotch Plains-Fanwood

Credits: JCC of Central New Jersey
Marsha Kreuzman discussed her experiences surviving five concentration camps as part of the Yom HaShoah observance at Temple Sholom (74 Martine Ave.) in Fanwood. Credits: Marjorie Leffler

Local Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) observances, which commemorate the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, begin today and will conclude tomorrow, Monday, April 28th.

Temple Sholom (74 Martine Ave.) will be holding a special Yom HaShoah liturgy at 7 p.m. featuring Marsha Kreuzman, who will tell her story of surviving five concentration camps and her rescue from Mauthausen by the U.S. Army’s 11th Armored Division in 1945.  After 70 years, Kreuzman was recently reunited with one of her liberators, Joe Barbella of Union, New Jersey.

The service will incorporate “Voices of Children from the Shoah.” Music written by 11-year-old Alec Volkoviski for a music competition in the Vilna Ghetto in 1943 will be sung; excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary as well as stories and poems written by children imprisoned in Terezin concentration camp will be read; and six candles will be lit by Temple members whose lives -- either as refugees or the children and grandchildren of survivors -- have been personally impacted by the Holocaust.

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“We have a great committee led by Dr. Ann Saltzman, which puts together a very meaningful program,” said Rabbi Joel Abraham of Temple Sholom.  “While I will be with our confirmation class 10th graders in Eastern Europe to see firsthand what happened, at home we our congregants stop to remember.  It’s an appropriate parallel.”

​The JCC’s Jewish Identity photo contest gallery opening and Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration take place today at 2:00 p.m.  Yom HaShoah keynote speaker and Holocaust survivor Hannah Kesselman will speak about teen empowerment through rescue efforts during the Holocaust.  The event has a $5 suggested donation to the JCC Teen Department. Light refreshments will be served.  Beginning Monday, the JCC photo exhibit will hit the road and be on display Monday night at the Community Yom HaShoa Event at Kean University.

On Monday, April 28th, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., folk singer Mark Levy will present a special program, Cry of Hope: Music of the Holocaust, featuring songs composed during the years 1939-45 under the deathly conditions in ghettos and camps.  Also presented will be Songs of Hope and Resistance, which tells the story of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and an uprising that lasted for months. This program features songs, poems, narrative and even jokes from inside the ghettos and camps in 1943.  This program is sponsored by Barbara Rood in honor of her husband Howard's special birthday.  Member: $3.50, Community Participant: $8.  Cost includes lunch.

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