SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains will commemorate the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht on Friday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m. The remembrance ceremony will feature three speakers who are children of Holocaust survivors. The program will take place during Congregation Beth Israel’s Friday night Shabbat services, and is free and open to the community. 

Kristallnacht, which translates as “crystal night” in German, is also called the "Night of Broken Glass." It refers to the violent attacks that the Nazis waged against Jews on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, throughout Germany, Austria, and parts of occupied Czechoslovakia. The name Kristallnacht comes from the broken glass that littered the streets after Jewish homes, schools, synagogues, and stores were damaged and destroyed. With Jews beaten, killed and sent to concentration camps, Kristallnacht is often seen as the beginning of the Holocaust.

Guest speakers will include Barbara Simon, Sarah Reinholtz and Raya Warner, who will share their parents’ personal experiences and memories as Holocaust survivors. The speakers are members of the Second/Third Generation Holocaust Survivors Group, sponsor of the program. This support group, which was created at Congregation Beth Israel, also includes participants from area synagogues; Barbara Simon and Sarah Reinholtz are members of Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains, and Raya Warner is a member of Temple Emanu-El in Westfield. The group plans events, such as the Kristallnacht Remembrance, to educate the public about the Holocaust and to honor and remember those who suffered and perished.

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“We realized that many of us in the area grew up with parents or grandparents who survived the Holocaust, so we decided to reach out and form a community to share our stories and to learn even more about this dark time in our history,” said Claire Bornstein, a co-founder of the Second/Third Generation Holocaust Survivors Group. “We are being proactive to plan programs every year to ensure that the memories of the Holocaust are passed on to future generations.”

For additional information about the program, contact Faye Bodenstein (, Claire Bornstein ( or Rita Geller (, or call the synagogue office at (980) 889-1830.

Congregation Beth Israel is located at 18 Shalom Way, Scotch Plains, NJ  (corner of Martine Avenue).