Synagogue to host Holocaust Remembrance Day

Temple Beth El will host a Holocaust Remembrance Day at 7 p.m. Thursday at the synagogue, 1501 N. Grandview Ave.

Rabbi Jordan Parr said the congregation decided it wanted to do something for the community regarding Holocaust commemoration.

“It is the official date of commemoration in the worldwide Jewish community,” Parr said. “We thought it would be a good idea to hold on the correct date and invite the larger community to join us for the commemoration. We’ve done it ourselves in the past, but decided to open it up to the community this year.”

Parr said the service will be short. He’ll make remarks and it will include reading a representative sample of names of those who died in the Holocaust and ending with Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer.

Everyone knows that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, the events are a lesson in terms of the depths humankind can reach, Parr said. He added that it serves as a warning not to demonize any group and to treat each other with respect.

“That’s really going to be the ultimate messages of the evening, even though we’re going to remember those who died,” Parr. “It’s also the idea that if we forget our history, it’s going to happen again. It’s not something anybody wants.”

Congregation member Susan Leshnower said in an email that members decided to open the event to the public because the Holocaust has been expanded to include genocide in Rwanda, “bullying everywhere and the hope that people will not remain silent about anti-semitism. A Holocaust survivor was recently killing in France.”

While 6 million names won’t be read, Parr said the idea is that the number of those who died is hard to wrap one’s head around, but when you start hearing individual names it’s more relatable.

He noted that remembering loved ones is an important aspect of the Jewish faith. If there is no one in a family left to remember, the worldwide community has taken it upon themselves to remember as many by name as possible.

Parr said there are lots of names to read from because the Germans were good at keeping lists.

“If anybody survived the camps they’re by definition in their 80s and 90s. That’s a dwindling crowd, unfortunately … so that makes the commemoration even more imperative,” Parr said.

He hopes that people from the larger community attend to learn more about the Holocaust and the Jewish community.

“Maybe some will think twice before committing an act of violence, or saying something that’s inappropriate, or maybe turn someone into an activist,” Parr said.

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