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Synagogues pay tribute to victims and survivors in Holocaust Remembrance Day events

Synagogues pay tribute to victims and survivors in Holocaust Remembrance Day events
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Two Mill Basin synagogues are making sure their younger generations never forget the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Temple Sholom on E. 68th Street and Flatbush Park Jewish Center on Avenue U held candle-lighting services to remember the devastation of the Holocaust on April 28.

The memorials marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, celebrates survivors, and reminds younger generations to prevent history from repeating itself, one organizer said.

“There’s something very important about hearing from survivors while they are still alive,” said Lori Weintrob, a professor of history at Wagner College and long-time member of Temple Sholom. “It inspires future generations to take action and not be a bystander.”

More than 200 people came to Temple Sholom’s memorial and heard survivor Matt Feldman speak about the three years he spent in a Nazi concentration camp before allied forces liberated Eastern Europe, said Audrey Durst, the event’s master of ceremonies.

At Flatbush Park Jewish Center, rabbi emeritus David Halpern spoke about the lack of Holocaust knowledge among young people, said congregation member Julie Baltimore.

“It’s pretty upsetting that the knowledge is not there,” she said.

Words fall short: Alexandra Nava-Baltimore recites a poem about the Holocaust at a memorial at Flatbush Park Jewish Center on April 28.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

For one reader, the recitation was tough but enlightening.

“I felt very emotional, because I could really feel what was happening by the way it was written,” said Alexandra Nava-Baltimore, who read a poem about a girl being sent to a gas chamber.

Hebrew school students also read poems written in the voice of the children who perished during the tragedy.

“That was very moving,” said Mina Hertz, who attended the Flatbush Park synagogue with her survivor father, Aron.

Survivors from both congregations also lit yahrzeit candles to commemorate the six million Jews killed under the Nazi regime. Durst said the Jewish community is at a crossroads, and honoring those who lived through the atrocities is becoming increasingly important as many of them pass away.

“Every year there are less and less,” she said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Memorial flame: Flatbush Park Jewish Center rabbi emeritus David Halpern lights a candle.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta