Program to honor victims of Holocaust set for tonight

GLOVERSVILLE — Knesseth Israel Synagogue will hold a public Holocaust Remembrance program today at 7 p.m.

Yom HaShoah is an annual holiday meant to commemorate the approximately six million Jewish people who died in the Holocaust, observed at the synagogue in a remembrance event each year that is open to and inviting of the public.

“This is our time to remember the Holocaust and we think everyone should remember the Holocaust, so we open our doors,” Knesseth Israel Spiritual Leader Suzanne Schermerhorn said Monday.

While there are no set standards for the event worldwide, Knesseth Israel includes the lighting of candles, songs in both English and Hebrew and readings by area religious leaders of various denominations.

Tonight’s event will include a reading by Gloversville High School senior Maria Danise of her 2017 winning essay for the annual Nessel Family Holocaust Memorial Scholarship and featured speaker Murray Jaros.

The Holocaust survivor, Jaros, spoke at Knesseth Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance program two years ago telling the story of how he and his family were forcibly removed from their home in eastern Poland, along with other Jewish people in the rural town, and moved into a ghetto.

Jaros, eight at the time, and the others suffered beatings and privations before escaping to the surrounding woods where he and his surviving family members remained in hiding for two years.

During this year’s remembrance event, Jaros will continue the story of his life after he and his family were able to reintegrate into life following their experiences during the Holocaust.

“The story of survivors is not just about horrific experiences, but also rebuilding,” Schermerhorn said.

Schemerhorn said that hearing from people who lived through the Holocaust is an invaluable experience for students and community members as they are primary sources from history. She added that lack of contact with Jewish people was part of the problem in the past, hoping that opening the doors at Knesseth Israel to the community will allow people to engage with one another.

“There are people out there that deny this happened. The opportunity to hear and speak with survivors, not on recording or video, is invaluable,” Schemerhorn said. “We all need to stand together.”

“The program always ends with a positive note for the future, because that’s what we’re always working towards, building a positive future,” Schemerhorn added.

Before the program, a piece of music by Danise entitled “Ghost of the Holocaust” will play while people enter the synagogue. She submitted the song featuring electronic instruments along with her essay. Visuals prepared by the high school Hebrew class will also be on display. Following the program, refreshments will be served and Jaros will be available to speak informally to attendants.

Knesseth Israel Synagogue’s public Holocaust Remembrance observance will be held today at 7 p.m. at the synagogue at 34 E. Fulton St.

By Patricia Older

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