Capacity Crowd Returns In Person to Commemorate Yom Hashoah V’Hagvurah

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Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

About 200 masked guests joined the in-person commemoration at Anshe Chesded Fairmount Temple in Beachwood as an additional 200 watched from home. CJN Photo / Courtney Byrnes

Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood welcomed a full capacity crowd of 200 in-person attendees April 27 for the return to an in-person commemoration of Yom Hashoah V’Hagurvah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.

With masks required and to allow for distanced seating, an additional 200 screens logged on to watch the commemoration of the Holocaust from home. The annual program was coordinated by the Kol Israel Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and this year’s theme was resistance.

Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk of Fairmount Temple welcomed the crowd participating in person and online.

“We welcome you to our synagogue whether you are here in person – and it is good to see you here in person and make contact – but we also welcome all the many who are watching, observing and participating in tonight’s ritual for Yom Hashoah V’Hagvurah, we welcome you, we pray with you, we agonize with you over the tremendous relevance of the remembrance of the Shoah and the resistance to the Shoah at this moment in history,” he said.

Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple gives the opening remarks. CJN Photo / Courtney Byrnes

The opening remark was followed by a moment of silence with the sounding of a siren. Then a procession included the presentation of the colors as the Jewish War Veterans carried Israeli and American flags, and Kol Israel Foundation presented its flag. Six Holocaust-era Torah scrolls from Fairmount Temple, B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, Congregation Shaarey Tikvah, Oheb Zedek Cedar Sinai Synagogue, Temple Israel Ner Tamid and The Temple-Tiferesth Israel joined the procession followed by the March of Generations as children carried lit candles.

In remembrance of the Holocaust and the 6 million Jews who perished, the commemoration featured a memorial candlelighting with six candles lit by survivors and their families, one candle lit by the daughter of a rescuer and a final lit by the daughter of a liberator.

As each candle was lit, the stories of survivors Inga Berkey, Eric Kisch, Nat Lypsic, Milya Solyar and Simon Okun, Tibor Szabo, and Samuel and Ida Zelwin; rescuer Feng Shan Ho; and liberator Julius Abrams were read by Robert Rosen, who was the co-chair with Marcy Rosenthal.

Manli Ho, daughter of Chinese diplomat and rescuer Feng-Shan Ho, was the featured speaker and, joining via Zoom, shared the story of her father who issued visas to 18,000 Jews in Vienna, Austria to escape to Shanghai during the Holocaust.

Attendees listened on to Manli Ho, daughter of Chinese diplomat and rescuer Feng-Shan Ho, as she joined on Zoom to share the story of her father. CJN Photo / Courtney Byrnes

The evening also took time for prayers as Rabbi Joshua Caruso of Fairmount Temple led the Mourner’s Kaddish and El Malei Rachamim, and time for song as Cantor Vladmir Lapin of Fairmount Temple sang the national anthem, Song of the Partisans and Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem.

Samantha Baskind recognized the middle school and high school winners of the creative arts contest which followed the theme of resistance. Lindsay Lebowitz, a junior from Solon High School and member of Fairmount Temple, placed second in the high school competition with her piece, “The White Rose,” about a brother and sister during the Holocaust who distributed pamphlets of resistance during the Holocaust.

“I think it’s so important, in our generation especially, to commemorate the Holocaust because as we get older there are not as many survivors,” Lebowitz told the Cleveland Jewish News. “So I really wanted to put attention to resistance of the Holocaust and how we in our generation can commemorate it.”

Robert Zelwin, Kol Israel Foundation president, giving the closing remarks. CJN Photo / Courtney Byrnes

Closing remarks were given by Kol Israel Foundation president Robert Zelwin as he spoke of the Kol Israel Holocaust Memorial in Bedford Heights, inviting attendees to a commemoration on Oct. 2, the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and recognizing the efforts to have the monument designated as a National Memorial.

“In 1961, the survivors with the help of the local Jewish community and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland built a Holocaust monument at Zion Memorial Park in Bedford Heights,” he said. “It’s believed to be one of the first Holocaust memorials built by survivors in the United States. Buried below the memorial are the ashes from three concentration camps as well as other artifacts that were brought over from Europe. It represented the final resting place for all the immigrants that had relatives exterminated in concentration camps and in other unknown burial sites.”

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