April 4, 2013, South Orange, NJ … Cantor Perry Fine of Temple Beth Shalom, Livingston, will direct an interfaith choir at the 36th annual South Orange/Maplewood Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance on Sunday April 14 at 4:00 PM at Seton Hall University. The service will be held on the South Orange campus, in Jubilee Hall.
Cantor Fine, a longtime South Orange resident, will conduct the 35-member Voices in Harmony. The choir, made up of adults and selected high school girls and boys, will perform “I Believe” by Mark Miller, a musical piece based on an anonymous text discovered during the Holocaust.
New Jersey resident Larry Pantirer, son of the late Murray Pantirer, a Schindler’s List survivor of the Holocaust, is this year’s featured speaker.
Jim Ferruggiaro, who has co-chaired the organizing committee for this event since 2009, commented, “It is especially significant that Seton Hall is hosting this year’s service for the first time in our 36th year. Sister Rose Thering of Seton Hall University, along with Congregation Beth-El Rabbi Emeritus Jehiel Orenstein and the late Max Randall, a member of South Mountain B’nai B’rith, were the originators of the service, which was the first interfaith Holocaust remembrance event established in New Jersey.”
Also co-chairing the committee are Beth Randall Branigan, daughter of Max Randall and Eve Morawski, daughter of Polish Catholic Holocaust survivors, and whose father Michael was a leader of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
Members of the clergy from nearly 20 Jewish, Catholic and Protestant houses of worship in the South Orange/Maplewood community will offer prayers and hymns at the service. Local resident Margie Freeman will open the service by sounding the ram’s horn or shofar, a centuries-old tradition of the Jewish people. Seminarians from Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary, Kearny will offer Psalm 133, an expression of unity, in song.
Area survivors of the Holocaust, most of whom were children or adolescents during the second World War, will light 11 candles to represent the 11 million men, women and children – including six million Jews and five million Polish Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Slavs, Roma (gypsies), homosexuals, disabled children and adults and political dissidents – who were brutally murdered during the Holocaust. Grandchildren of survivors Norbert and Greta Bikales will light 18 candles signifying “Chai” or Life, according to Hebrew mystical tradition.
This year, the Remembrance Service committee will honor long-time member Oscar Lax with the Sister Rose Thering Holocaust Education Award for his commitment to Sister Rose’s belief that education will make the world a more tolerant place.
Middle school students from the South Orange/Maplewood school district will display interpretative artwork inspired by conversations with Holocaust survivors. Art will be displayed on site at Jubilee Hall.
This is the first time Seton Hall University is hosting this annual event, traditionally held in community churches and synagogues. Seton Hall students will participate as hosts to the community and survivors. The Holocaust Remembrance Service has been incorporated into the University’s yearlong Building Bridges: Sixty Years of Jewish-Christian Dialogue, commemorating the University’s significant role in promoting the Church’s relationship with the Jewish community at local, national, and international levels.
The Remembrance Service is free of charge and open to the public. Entrance to the event is through the front gate of SHU on South Orange Avenue. Parking is available. The community is encouraged to bring cans and boxes of non-perishable food donations to the event for later distribution by the Food Bank of New Jersey. For more details and background visit www.rememberandtell.org.