Yom Hashoah to Weave Interfaith Awareness into Ceremony

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Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News.

by Amanda Koehn

Cleveland’s event to mark Yom Hashoah V’Hagvurah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, aims each year to commemorate the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, while celebrating the estimated 770 local survivors as well as those around the world.

This year, the April 11 event at Park Synagogue Main in Cleveland Heights aims to incorporate interfaith clergy into its procession, where clergy and Holocaust survivors carry Holocaust-era Torah scrolls.

“It’s a way for the community to stand together with the Jewish community in commemorating the Holocaust,” said Joshua Kramer, co-chair of the committee for the event and a member of CJN Tomorrow, a Cleveland Jewish News initiative to grow the voice of up-and-coming leaders in Northeast Ohio.


The somber program is presented by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and Kol Israel Foundation. Rabbi Joshua Skoff of Park Synagogue will deliver a keynote address.

As part of the program, survivors and their families will lead a candle lighting ceremony. Those lighting candles are six survivors – George Kronenberg, Harold Koppel, Lissa Keller, Walter Wertheim, Harry Abraham and Marlit Polsky – and one concentration camp liberator, James Malatesta. An eighth candle, representing children who died in the Holocaust, will be lit by Yuval Ganot and Azrikam Ganot in memory of Shaul Gorodinski, a partisan fighter.

A creative arts competition for local middle and high school students is also part of the commemoration. Yom Hashoah V’Hagvurah Creative Arts Contest’s theme is “Finding the Meaning in Broken Glass: Reflections on Kristallnacht,” to signify the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, a wave of anti-Semitic violent attacks in November 1938.

The program also includes a performance by HaZamir Cleveland, the local chapter of the international Jewish high school choir.

Visual arts and writing contest winners

Visual Arts – High School

  1. Julia Libbey, Saint Joseph Academy, Cleveland
  2. Mary Chura, Saint Joseph Academy, Cleveland
  3. Zoe Winger, Beachwood High School

Visual Arts – Middle School

  1. Ella Jo Rosenberg, Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School, Beachwood
  2. Rachel Portner, Fuchs Mizrachi School, Beachwood
  3. Cate Rukin, Orchard Middle School, Solon

Writing – High School

  1. Caillean Galayde, James A. Garfield High School, Garrettsville
  2. Chad Angermeier, James A. Garfield High School, Garrettsville
  3. Jesse Marderwald, James A. Garfield High School, Garrettsville

Writing – Middle School

  1. Eva Ptahia, Fuchs Mizrachi School, Beachwood
  2. Emmie Fremont, Fuchs Mizrachi School, Beachwood
  3. Atara Wiesen, Fuchs Mizrachi School, Beachwood

Yom Hashoah V’Hagvurah

WHAT: Cleveland community commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day

WHEN: 7 p.m. April 11

WHERE: Park Synagogue Main, 3300 Mayfield Road, Cleveland Heights

INFO: The event is free and open to the community. To register or for more information, visit jewishcleveland.org.

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