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Community Yom HaShoah Observance

 

COMMUNITY YOM HASHOAH OBSERVANCE TO MARK 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF

WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING

 

The 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising will be the focal point for the Albany Jewish community’s observance of Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day at B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany.

The annual observance and memorial to the 6 million Jews who perished during World War II under Hitler’s rule will be held Sunday, April 7, at 6:45 p.m. at the synagogue, 420 Whitehall Road, Albany. The evening will feature readings by students from the Mifgash Jewish Community High School and by members of the B’nai Sholom community. Rabbi Donald P. Cashman, B’nai Sholom’s spiritual leader since 1985, will preside.

This year’s commemoration will consist of three distinct elements:

  • “Moments of Memorial,” rituals that includes the lighting of memorial candles, chanting of the memorial prayer “El malei rachamim” and a communal recitation of the Kaddish;

 

  • A “Historical Reflection” that focuses on readings based on the timeline of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Congregants and Mifgash students will read in the voices of those in the Ghetto;

 

  • “Hope for the future.”

In spring 1943, the Germans had planned to liquidate the Warsaw Ghetto in three days, but ghetto fighters held out for more than a month. Even after the end of the uprising on May 16, 1943, individual Jews hiding out in the ruins continued to attack the patrols of the Germans and their auxiliaries. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the largest, symbolically most important Jewish uprising, and the first urban uprising, in German-occupied Europe. The resistance in Warsaw inspired uprisings in other ghettos and killing centers. Today, Days of Remembrance ceremonies to commemorate the victims and survivors of the Holocaust are linked to the dates of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

 

The details of daily life in the Warsaw Ghetto were surreptitiously recorded by a group under the direction of historian Emanuel Ringelblum. They collected diaries, decrees and ephemera, burying them in metal containers throughout the Ghetto. After the War, more than 25,000 pages in 10 cases and two metal milk cans were uncovered. A third milk can is rumored to be buried still under the Chinese Embassy.

Rabbi Cashman visited Warsaw this past November.

“Fragments of the Ghetto wall are still up in places. In other places where the wall used to stand, markers are laid in the pavement to show where it stood. Most moving, however, was to see one of the actual milk cans, now in a glass case in the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, a magnificent building that was the pre-War Jewish library. Ringelblum and his group risked their lives to assemble the documentation, and while they died, we are fortunate that we have the fruits of their labor as witnesses,” Cashman said.

The community Yom HaShoah observance is held annually under the auspices of the Capital District Board of Rabbis and rotates among synagogues.

For more information, visit www.bnaisholom.albany.ny.us or contact the B’nai Sholom office at 518-482-5283 or office@bnaisholom.albany.ny.us.

Founded in 1971, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region. Nearly 160 diverse households from six counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom.

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