This past Tuesday our Temple Beth Tikvah community came together to commemorate Yom Ha’Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was the first time since my arrival at TBT, that all three congregations (Shomrei Torah, Chabad, and Temple Beth Tikvah), along with Haley Chizever from the Wayne YMCA, came together for this commemoration. The actual date for Erev Yom Ha’shoah was Wednesday, May 1, when most services are held around the world. But to insure that our Wayne event would not conflict with other services in our area, we held it an evening earlier.
I think that for all of you who joined us it was a powerful evening, and your presence made it so. We had our children light six yellow memorial candles while reciting a prayer. The songs and prayers of our Cantors, Charles Romalis (TBT), and Stuart Skolnick (Shomrei Torah), pierced every heart in the sanctuary. Survivors read excerpts, and so did our teenagers. All came from different congregations, and we were all moved their blended voices.
The next day, I received this lovely message:
I want to thank you for inviting me to participate last night. You and your congregation always make me feel very welcome. I thought the program was excellent and I am happy to see ‘My three rabbis’ working together.
Christopher P. Vergano, Mayor, Township of Wayne
Our outstanding guest speaker, Mr. Erwin Ganz who shared his story, “Growing up in Nazi Germany, Before, During, and After Kristalnacht,” delivered an exceptional presentation. The next day he wrote:
A great Yom HaShoah Remembrance Evening. Thank you for inviting me to give my talk. Alice and Mitchel were a great help to Sandi and myself. Thank you again for everything.
Yes, I also want to thank my two partners, Mitchel Borger and Alice Osur, who helped with every aspect of our presentation: they drove Mr. Ganz and his family here, they took him back home, they took care of publicity, technical issues (the Hubbitzen helped with that too, thank you Dave!), and so much more.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank all our other volunteers who ushered, read, and chanted. Thank you to our office staff and volunteers for preparing the sanctuary, and making sure that everything worked well! Thank you to Wayne’s police officers who always help us feel safe during these unstable times.
Todah Rabbah to all who attended and joined us. My hope is that, although this was our first all community Yom Ha’Shoah, it won’t be our last. Let us continue to come together as a community every year, to commemorate our past, for the sake of healthier and stronger future generations.
My message for this Shabbat: We Must Never Forget!
Your Loving Rabbi Meeka
To our Muslim friends of the Peace Island Institute and DoNotHate Foundation: my heart goes out to you, and we, your Jewish brothers and sisters are standing with you in support. We will not let this cowardice and despicable act of violence break the spirit of peaceful prayer gatherings. We stand with you in the face of violence, and we send our sincere condolences to the grieving families of New Zealand’s Al Noor and Linwood Mosques. Shoulder to shoulder we will stand together to defeat fear and intolerance in our communities.
Sending love and prayers for healing,
Rabbi Meeka Simerly
Monday, February 18 @ 12:00 pm
YMCA -1 Pike Dr. Wayne, NJ
Unknown Treasures: Modern Poets, Authors, and Thinkers Hidden in the Reform Siddur
Beautiful liturgy has the power to inspire people and uplift prayers.
Join Rabbi Meeka as she shares some of the beautifully written works hidden throughout the Reform Siddur.
Thank you to everyone who donated to the Cranberry and Onion drive for the WIN food pantry’s Thanksgiving baskets!
We wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!