Survivors of the Holocaust and other members of the MetroWest community combined observance of Yom Hashoa on May 2 with a tribute to the late Sister Rose Thering, a Catholic nun who dedicated her life to teaching about the evils of anti-Semitism.
In a 40-minute ceremony in the Wilf Holocaust Memorial on the Aidekman campus in Whippany, survivors and their relatives lit candles to commemorate the Nazi slaughter of six million Jews.
“In some ways, today is a very wonderful day,” said Barbara Wind, director of the Holocaust Council of MetroWest. “We had news last night that Osama Ben Laden is no longer in this world, and certainly he does not deserve to be in this world.”
But, she noted, “the fear, of course, is that what he stood for is not gone, just as Hitler is gone, but Hitlerism is certainly not gone and what we see playing out today in the Middle East and so much of the world is the propaganda of Hitler.”
Wind said that in the seder “we read, ‘In every generation there arises an oppressor against the Jews and in every generation we are saved,’ so we can only hope that will continue because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.”
Cantor Perry Fine chanted the “El Maleh Rahamim” and led the assemblage in reciting the Kaddish. Shelly Brosch, a daughter of survivors, sang in Yiddish the “Partisans’ Song,” an anthem of the underground resistance written in the Vilna ghetto.
Wind saluted Thering, the Holocaust educator who founded the Sister Rose Thering Endowment for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange.
“Rose taught many people about the Holocaust, even people who didn’t want to learn about it, because such was her nature. A good teacher never misses a teaching moment. A great teacher finds a teaching moment even when there isn’t one. Sister Rose created teaching moments,” Wind said, even when she was in the hospital waiting to be operated on or delivering talks on anti-Semitism to drivers of limousines taking her to speaking engagements.
Lois Dranikoff, who is active with the council, led a recitation of the Kaddish for Sister Rose. Wind announced that the council is sponsoring the Sister Rose Yad Vashem Scholarship, enabling educators to conduct on-line study of the Shoa through the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. People wishing to contribute or receive further information can contact the council at 973-929-3194 or firstname.lastname@example.org.