May 21, 2024
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Teaneck Holocaust Commemoration Planned at Bergenfield High School

Presenter Tova Friedman

Who would have imagined that 85 years after Germany’s invasion of Poland, setting off what was to become known as the Holocaust, the greatest single destruction of Jewish life in human history, we are witnessing the aftermath of a horrific attack on our people in our own land!

Who can fathom the feelings of survivors of the Holocaust reliving their nightmares in their advanced years as they watch the horrors of October 7?

The upcoming Teaneck Holocaust Commemoration, to be held on Sunday evening, May 5, at the Bergenfield High School, is our community’s opportunity to gather in memory of the loved ones whom we lost during the Shoah and in support of our courageous heroes who are defending us in the present. It is an additional opportunity to express our unity and strength in the face of the senseless hatred being spewed against us in our very own community.

As in the past 35 plus years, the members of the Teaneck Holocaust Committee have worked over many months to put together a meaningful program of commemoration which will honor the victims of the Holocaust. Many of the original members of the Committee, who are still active today, are the children of Holocaust survivors who lived well into their 90s and even into their 100s, armed with the grit that got them through those horrific times. The ongoing Teaneck Commemoration is a tribute to their stamina as well as inspiration to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, to stand up to senseless bigotry with courage and conviction, a message so crucial in our lives today.

The Commemoration is being sponsored by 18 local synagogues as well as the many hundreds of sponsors and contributors who have donated generously over the past many years. The program will be addressed by co-chairs of the Teaneck Holocaust Committee, Felicia Grossman and Chani Jaskoll, both daughters of Holocaust survivors, as well as Steve Fox, son of Holocaust survivors, who serves as the president of the Jewish Community Council of Teaneck.

The featured speaker at this year’s program is Tova Friedman. At 85, Friedman has addressed hundreds of young and adult audiences about her Holocaust experiences and survival. As one of the youngest child survivors of Auschwitz, her post-liberation photograph at age 6, displaying her numerical tattoo, has become an iconic image of the Holocaust. In 2021, her grandson posted her story on TikTok, resulting in over 50 million views to date. Just two years ago, Friedman published her saga of survival assisted by journalist Malcolm Brabant. Her memoir, entitled “The Daughter of Auschwitz: My Story of Resilience, Survival and Hope,” has garnered great attention among the 15,000 memoirs of Holocaust survival which Friedman attributes to “its emphasis not only on survival but to life.”

The program will feature a musical presentation by local musical artists Jonathan Rimberg and Stephanie Kurtzman. New this year, the TABC Studio 1600 Vocal Ensemble will introduce the program. Rabbi Elliot Schreier of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun will offer a message of inspiration followed by the reading of Psalms.

The Candle Lighting Ceremony will feature local Teaneck resident Norbert Strauss whose story of survival was serialized in The Jewish Link. As the patriarch of a legacy family, Strauss will be accompanied in the ceremony by grandchildren and great-grandchildren, representing the perpetuity of Jewish life after the Shoah.

The program will conclude with the recitation of the Kaddish and Memorial Prayer by Teaneck resident AJ Schreiber.

The entire community is invited to attend the Annual Teaneck Holocaust Commemoration to be held on Sunday evening, May 5, at 7:30 p.m., at Bergenfield High School, located at 80 South Prospect Avenue.

Handicapped accessible parking will be available. Easy access to building. Ample security will be provided.

A Holocaust Art Exhibit designed by the Middle School students of RYNJ will be on display on the lower level of the Teaneck Library until the end of May. Please visit.

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