Community marks Yom HaShoah

Community marks Yom HaShoah

Pope Francis visiting Auschwitz, July 29, 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube)
Pope Francis visiting Auschwitz, July 29, 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, will be observed at sundown on Wednesday, May 1, and continue on Thursday, May 2. The following area organizations are holding public programs in commemoration of the day.

Congregation Agudath Israel, Caldwell — A Yom HaShoah commemoration in memory of Fela Rosmarin Urman and all victims and survivors will be held on Wednesday, May 1, at 7 p.m.

The program will include guest speaker Dr. Helen Streubert, president of the College of St. Elizabeth, honoring Marjorie Feinstein for her work promoting Holocaust education at the college, and Mincha/Maariv with prayers and candle lighting for the six million. At 7:45, Rebecca Gelman will tell the story of her father, Charles Gelman, and his involvement in the movie, “Nicholas Winton: The Power of Good,” about the British humanitarian who organized the rescue of 669 children from Czechoslovakia. Guest speakers are Tammee Fensch, who helped locate “Winton’s Children” throughout the world; Peter Rafael, former consulate general of the Czech Republic who was instrumental in ensuring official recognition for Winton’s deeds; and Lawrence Reed, author of “Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character and Conviction.” The Winton film will be shown at 8:15.

Register at or contact or

Temple Beth Am, Parsippany — The 31st annual Joseph Gotthelf Holocaust Memorial Lecture will be held on Friday, May 17, following Shabbat services at 7 p.m. Ernest Mathias, whose family sought refuge in Shanghai in 1938, will comment on the film “The Last Refuge: The Story of Jewish Refugees in Shanghai.”

The lecture is sponsored by the Joseph Gotthelf Holocaust Memorial Fund, named for a Polish Auschwitz survivor who came to the United States after the war. Call 973-887-0046.

Congregation Beth Israel (CBI)
, Scotch Plains — A Yom HaShoah commemoration on Sunday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m. will feature presentations by guest speakers Heather Markowitz, a past CBI president who will share the story behind the Czech Holocaust Torah on display in the synagogue’s lobby, and Eva Vogel of Drew University’s Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study, who will describe her parents’ experiences as prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp and their Jewish life together after liberation.

Call 908-889-1830.

Temple Beth Shalom
, Livingston — Jack J. Hersch, author of “Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped from the Nazi Holocaust,” will speak on Thursday, May 2, at 7 p.m.

Hersch grew up hearing the stories of how his father, Dave, twice escaped the brutal death marches forced on concentration camp prisoners by the Nazis at the end of World War II. A few years after his father’s death in 2001, he sought to uncover what really happened to his father and the people who helped him survive.

Contact 973-992-3600 or

Temple B’nai Abraham
, Livingston — A Yom HaShoah service will be held on Wednesday, May 1, at 6 p.m. with guest speaker Monica Blumberg, who will share the impact her personal Holocaust history has had on her own life’s journey. Call 973-994-2290 or visit

Kean University
, Union — The annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration will take place on Wednesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. at the Wilkins Theatre for the Performing Arts.

This year’s featured speaker will be World War II veteran Robert Max, an American-Jewish soldier who was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and forced into slave labor. His recent book, “The Long March Home,” tells the story of his ordeal.

This free event is sponsored by Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and Kean’s Holocaust Resource Center. Educators who attend will receive professional development credits. To register, visit

Pine Brook Jewish Center
, Montville — A Yom HaShoah Holocaust Commemoration program will be held on Tuesday, April 30, at 7 p.m.

Guest speaker is Cantor David S. Wisnia, a survivor of Auschwitz who was incarcerated for close to three years and whose life was saved by his singing to entertain the Nazi SS and cell block leaders. He was transferred to Dachau in December 1944, surviving the Death March, and managing to escape. He was soon found and rescued by the American 101 Airborne Division. Joining with the 506th Parachute Infantry, he engaged actively in combat during the closing days of the war with Germany in 1945, becoming both a survivor and a liberator.

Contact 973-244-9800 or

Temple Sholom
, Scotch Plains — Yom HaShoah programs will be held on April 26 and 28, both free and open to the public.

On Friday, April 26, at 7 p.m., congregant Dr. Elin Diamond will lead a discussion, “My Cousin Diane: From Arrest, to Rescue to the Wall of Justice.” Her cousin was part of a famous rescue of Jewish children by French families in the early 1940s.

On Sunday, April 28, at 7 p.m., Peter Fleishman, age 92, will share his “Journey to Freedom” from Prague to the United States in 1941, followed by a musical service of remembrance and hope.

Light refreshments will be served. Visit or call 908-889-4900.

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