May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Bergen County Prosecutor Meets With Holocaust Survivor

Gladys Halpern sitting holding the proclamation. Standing (l-r): Sharon Halpern; Shterney Kanelsky; Rabbi Mordechai Kanelsky; Michael Dressler, surrogate judge, sitting; and his son standing behind him.

(Courtesy of Bris Avrohom) Michael Dressler, surrogate judge of Bergen County, contacted Rabbi Kanelsky with a request. He never had a chance to meet face to face with a Holocaust survivor and hear from a personal witness about the atrocities that the Jewish nation faced, and how the survivors were saved miraculously.

Rabbi Kanelsky contacted David Halpern, a prominent supporter of Bris Avrohom, to ask if his mother, Gladys Halpern, would agree to a meeting with the judge and share her war experiences of 80 years ago.

Mrs. Halpern responded favorably. The surrogate judge came to her house together with his son to hear firsthand what happened to the Jewish nation and to her family.

Dressler was mesmerized. He listened to Halpern’s story for over an hour and a half as she related in short what had transpired with her and her family, and how they persevered throughout those terrible war years.

Gladys Halpern sitting holding the book “Darkness and Hope,” written by her husband, Sam Halpern, ob”m. Standing (l-r): David Halpern, Sharon Halpern, Shterney Kanelsky, Rabbi Mordechai Kanelsky and Mendy Kanelsky.

The judge was so touched that he decided to put out a proclamation of no tolerance towards antisemitism. He said we should all make sure to educate our youths that they should know what happened during those harsh war years, and the younger generation, especially high school students, should be taught to respect every individual. He concluded that he was glad his son had accompanied him to hear Halpern’s personal recounting of her story. He presented her with a proclamation and, in return, she gave him a book written by her husband, Sam Halpern, ob”m, a Holocaust survivor. All that were present went home inspired by Halpern’s depiction of Jewish perseverance, and proof that Jewish life, no matter how challenged, will always prevail.

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