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Teaneck Holocaust Committee to Mark Yom HaShoah

 

Yom HaShoah 2021 will be observed on Thursday evening, April 8. After much preparation and coordination, the Teaneck Holocaust Committee, currently chaired by Amy Elfman and Felicia Grossman, will be hosting a virtual tribute to those who perished during the Holocaust, including many family members of Teaneck residents.

Featured will be a 2020 documentary produced by Yad Vashem presenting the moving account of Hannah Pick-Goslar, German/Dutch survivor, now 93 and living in Israel, having retired from a lifelong career as a nurse and raising an Orthodox family in Kfar Hasidim. Many have read about Anne Frank’s nightmares about her best friend, Hannah, whose family had been arrested and taken to the Westerbork Transit Camp for Dutch Jews before they were deported to concentration camps. Hannah Goslar and Anne Frank met in kindergarten when Goslar’s family relocated to Amsterdam. Goslar’s tragic parting with Anne took place shortly before liberation at Bergen Belsen. The film will recount the heroic survival of one in memory of millions.

Representing the fourth generation at the program will be two great-grandchildren named in memory of their great-grandparents. Eliana (Ella) Reis, 10, a student at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, will speak about her namesake Esther Ella Wolkenberg Messing, mother of her grandmother Jeanette Malca, longtime active member of the Teaneck Holocaust Commemoration Committee. Alex Scharf, 15, a student at Yeshivat Frisch, will speak about his great-grandfather Shimon Alexander Steinberger, whose name he carries proudly.

As in many past programs to which he has generously contributed his time and talent, Jonathan Rimberg, Teaneck resident and accomplished musician, will offer two Yiddish musical selections. Rabbi Joseph Adler, morah d’asra of Congregation Rinat Yisrael, will be reciting the Kel Maleh as he has so meaningfully and beautifully over many years. The program will conclude with the scrolling of the names of Teaneck families who have made donations in memory of “Those We Have Lost.”

The Teaneck Holocaust Committee was formed in 1983 as a committee of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Teaneck. Initially the committee consisted of over 30 young men and women who were involved in their professions and raising young families, yet found time to be involved in the young Teaneck Jewish community. They met on a regular basis to plan the annual commemoration that was held in the Teaneck High School auditorium and hosted over 1000 attendees annually. Among the featured speakers were names prominent in the world of Holocaust study and education including Rabbi Irving Greenberg, Rabbi Herschel Schacter, Yaffa Eliach and many others.

Dr. Regina Koenig, one of the founding members of the committee and current member, shared, “One of the most admirable aspects of the early committee, still true today, was that it represented all the religious affiliations of the community, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and unaffiliated. We are all committed to memorializing those who perished and perpetuating them through education and awareness. Many of us are children of survivors but not all. It is our sense of connection and commitment that unites us.”

Over the years, the program expanded to include a musical presentation by the choir of a local day school, a candle-lighting ceremony by survivors and their families, a pre-event reception for Holocaust survivors in the Library Media Center of Teaneck High School and a month-long exhibition of Holocaust artwork by local students at the Teaneck and Bergenfield libraries.

Despite the limitations of the past year due to the pandemic, the Teaneck Holocaust Committee has made great strides in expansion. A young woman from the community with extensive professional expertise in digital marketing has come forward to offer the committee a new marketing strategy to expand the committee’s reach to a broader range of participants. She has also launched a social media campaign across multiple media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn in order to boost publicity for the annual commemoration. Also being planned is the upgrading of the website to a more active digital presence, to make the donation page more accessible and to provide interactive media materials to the visitors.

Nessa Liben, who grew up in Teaneck and moved back with her young family seven years ago, has also come aboard to promote the committee and its program. “We reached out to local day schools and high schools to invite them to promote the event and invite their parents and student bodies to participate. We were heartened to receive such gracious replies from the schools, who were very receptive to promoting the program. Our opportunities going forward to hear firsthand accounts of survivors are limited so that we must pay close attention now so that we never forget.”

Joining Liben in her outreach to the community is Jacob Schulder, father of a young Teaneck family. Schulder offered, “Having grown up with the Shoah as a central force in my life, I am motivated to ensure that others in my generation learn from the lessons of the Shoah in order to educate those generations that follow us. We are links in the chain of Jewish survival and Jewish life. I am hoping that through my involvement with the THC others will realize that if we do not take Yom HaShoah seriously and make it a priority in the education of our children, nobody will. It is our mission.”

The community is invited to join the Virtual Holocaust Commemoration sponsored by the Holocaust Commemoration Committee of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Teaneck on Thursday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Visit https://vimeo.com/event/666485 or dial in to 646-876-9923 (audio only line).

Tax deductible donations to the Teaneck Holocaust Commemoration Committee can be made at www.teaneckyomhashoa.org  or by mailing a check to Sharon Penkower Kaplan, 534 Forest Avenue, Teaneck, NJ. 07666. Checks should be payable to Jewish Community Council of Greater Teaneck, ref. Yom HaShoah program 2021.

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