Stamford’s Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration will be held this week, Thursday, April 19 at 7 pm at . The program will include guest speakers, a candle lighting ceremony, and commemorations through music, art, poetry, prayers, and stories.
“We want a family-oriented experience,” Rhonna Rogol, Committee Chair of Stamford’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, said. “What tends to happen is that you get a very gray-haired audience, they’re the people who remember.”
The Bureau of Jewish Education of the United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien is also holding their first community read centered on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The committee selected “A Lucky Child,” the memoir of Thomas Buergenthal, a child survivor of Auschwitz, and has asked community members to read and discuss the book in their homes and at book discussions throughout the month.
“We wanted it to be appropriate for middle school up through adults,” Rogol explained. “It’s difficult material. We want people getting together to talk, parents reading it with their kids. It’s created a fair amount of buzz.”
The guest speaker on April 19 will be Anita Schorr, also a child survivor who speaks on the importance of remembrance in everyday life.
“Her focus is that you have to remember, but remembering isn’t enough,” Rogol said. “[Buergenthal] is talking on the global scale and [Schorr] is more, what can you do in your daily life to stand up to injustice.”
Also new this year, a community-wide youth choir made up of third grade through high school students will be performing three songs in both Hebrew and English.
Ayellet Azura, Israeli Shlicha at the , will be reading a letter that she wrote to her parents during a trip to Poland that took her to the site of the death camps. She wrote out her feelings about the experience, but never shared the letter with them. She will read it for the first time on the 19th.
“We have students from Stamford in Poland now for the March of the Living [, a similar program],” Rogol explained. “We hope we’ll have them on a live feed while the letter is read.”
The 90-minute program will be packed with a variety of means of remembering, tributes, and discussions about actions for the future. Holocaust survivors will light six candles to represent the six million and others in the audience will be invited to light candles that line the windows of Temple Sinai.
“There’s a Jewish tradition, when you visit a gravesite, you leave a stone. We’ll distribute stones at the program and ask everyone to stop and place the stone at the memorial located outside the JCC,” Rogol said. “We want everyone to be moved and to be inspired to learn more. It has to be an ongoing conversation.