The centerpiece of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark’s Kristallnacht commemoration marking the 75th anniversary of the Nov. 9-10, 1938, pogrom will be a powerful ballet pas de deux with the theme of “broken glass.” Its “echoes of broken glass” will evoke the shattered windows of Jewish homes, synagogues, and storefronts that gave the night of brutal attacks — widely considered the start of the Nazis’ final onslaught of European Jewry — its name.
The Sunday, Nov. 17, concert at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart will also include pieces performed by musicians and singers, including the 70-voice Seton University Hall Choir, among them “To Remember It All,” composed by Cracow emigre Eddie Halpern in 1981. He wrote the somber cantata for the unveiling of artist Nathan Rapoport’s The Flame sculpture memorializing Shoa victims at Temple Sholom in Plainfield. Also on the program is “Kaddish” by Daniel Neiden, “I Believe” by Mark Miller, and “Hinei Ma Tov” arranged by Iris Levine; Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” will conclude the concert.
Javier Baca, who choreographed and will perform the pas de deux with partner Megan Morrison, said, “I am very humbled to dance this work, as I believe that what this event commemorates is very worthy of time and memory. The concert as a whole will be an emotional experience and the echoes of broken glass through the space will be very moving for myself and audience members.”
The program “will reflect the overarching theme of darkness to light,” said Dr. Jason Tramm, choir director and director of choral activities at Seton Hall. “Chichester Psalms” deals with “conflict, inward drama, and strife, but ends with harmony and people coming together in brotherhood and unity to rise above the horrors.”
The event is one of a series of programs taking place Nov. 9-17 sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education, the College of Saint Elizabeth, and Seton Hall University.
The Newark concert represents a collaborative effort of the commission, Seton Hall’s Building Bridges: Sixty Years of Jewish-Christian Dialogue, and the Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall.
“Kristallnacht was a turning point in Hitler’s war against the Jews and represented not only the shattering of glass, but of an illusion,” said SHU vice president for mission and ministry, Monsignor C. Anthony Ziccardi. “We can’t allow the world to forget these kinds of hatreds, and the Basilica, the mother and principal church of the archdiocese, seemed a natural place to help further Christian-Jewish relations.”
Holocaust survivor Luna Kaufman, who assisted in the concert’s planning, said she is especially gratified about its location.
“Small injustices can lead to big atrocities, and we need to keep this message in front of people and inform the world that there’s something we can do to stop it,” said Kaufman, chair emerita of the Sister Rose Thering Fund. “We have an obligation to humanity to speak up and not let it go by without paying notice. As Kristallnacht has shown us, injustices must be dealt with in their very early stages so that they don’t grow to overwhelming dimensions.”