June 17, 2024
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Never Forget: Holocaust Remembrance Observance Held at Daughters of Miriam Center

(Courtesy of Daughters of Miriam) “Never Forget—Never Again” is a phrase often heard on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated this year on Thursday, May 2. Memorial ceremonies for the approximately 6 million Jews who were killed in World War II by the Nazis and their collaborators were held around the world by Jewish Holocaust survivors, family members of victims and the greater Jewish community. Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute (DMC) hosted a very personal Holocaust Remembrance ceremony that included nursing home residents and apartment tenants who are Holocaust survivors, children of Holocaust survivors and others who were soldiers in the fight against the Nazis and their allies.

Led by Daughters of Miriam Center’s Director of Religious Services Rabbi Moshe Mirsky, residents, tenants and family members said prayers, told of their experiences and lost ones and lit seven memorial candles. Six candles represented the 6 million Jewish people who were murdered in the Holocaust while the seventh was in memory of the innocent victims who were killed in recent anti-Semitic shootings at the Chabad of Poway, California, and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Milton Yudkowitz, a 94-year-old Daughters of Miriam Apartment tenant and survivor of the Auschwitz death camp, lit the seventh candle, then led the audience in the “Song of the Partisans,” a Yiddish song that is considered one of the chief anthems of Holocaust survivors and is sung in memorial services around the world.

Showing his strength as a survivor, Milton Yudkowitz lifted his suit jacket sleeve and displayed the concentration camp number still visible on his arm as he sang. Tattooed at Auschwitz, Yudkowitz survived being killed at that notorious camp when he was sent to work at a factory nearby to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. After the war ended, Yudkowitz was placed in a refugee camp and eventually immigrated in 1949 to the United States, where he met his late wife, Gloria. In a twist of fate, Yudkowitz owned kosher butcher shops in the Newark and Passaic area, which for years supplied kosher meat to Daughters of Miriam Center.

The Center has been a refuge for elderly Holocaust survivors for decades, but as the years have passed many of these witnesses have succumbed to old age and illness, leaving their children and the greater Jewish community to pick up the mantle and continue the legacy of remembering the millions of lives that were brutally cut short. “One of the many things that people have at DMC is the opportunity to share their history with each other,” explained Rabbi Mirsky. “It is especially meaningful to hear the stories from Holocaust survivors,” he said, “but sadly, each year we have fewer survivors. We need to ensure that people don’t forget the terrible consequences of this hatred, especially in light of the rising anti-Semitism we are experiencing today in the United States and around the world.”

Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute is a state-of-the-art long-term care and subacute facility providing broad-based services to seniors. Emphasizing a continuum-of-care focus, Center divisions include a skilled nursing facility, a subacute care wing, a memory care pavilion, a rehabilitation program, hospice care, a respite program and senior housing with supportive services.

Situated on the campus of Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute, the Esther and Sam Schwartz Building (Miriam Apartments II) consists of 150 one-bedroom apartments with 28 units specially adapted to make them accessible to persons with mobility impairments. Tenants at the Esther and Sam Schwartz Building enjoy the independence of their own home while also benefiting from the community atmosphere created by the many active gathering places. Whether enjoying a restaurant-style dinner meal in the main dining hall or a casual lunch at the grill in the coffee shop, there is ample opportunity to engage in social activities.

Founded in 1921, the Center is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health, accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and serves as a university-affiliated teaching center.

The Center’s mission is to provide quality health care services and housing for seniors in an environment that enhances and respects individualized traditions and lifestyles. They work to meet the emerging needs in our community and to advance geriatric care through research.

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