PROVIDENCE – The Jewish community marked the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as part of its annual community Yom Ha’Shoah commemoration.
The evening event on April 17, the 40th in Rhode Island for Yom Ha’Shoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, coincided with the anniversary of the uprising, which began on April 19, 1943.
The program opened with a candlelight procession of Holocaust survivors and survivors’ children, flanked by students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, that moved down the aisle in the social hall at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center. During the procession, the approximately 150 people in the audience could watch the names of community members’ family members killed during the Holocaust scrolling on a screen at the front of the room.
Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman, reflecting on the events 80 years ago, said, “We must … remember how our ancestors lived” prior to the rise of Nazi Germany. He described the vibrant and sophisticated Polish Jewish community, with its schools and thriving cultural institutions, and urged those in attendance to “build and strengthen our own Jewish culture here in Rhode Island.”
Jewish culture was on display during the course of the program as teens from Temple Beth-El’s Youth Choir and HaZamir International Teen Choir, Providence Chapter, sang along with Cantors Judy Seplowin and Brian Mayer. Pianist Judith Lynn Stillman, a Providence musician and composer, and harpist Judie Tennanbaum, accompanied them.
Rabbi Daniel Kripper led the Mourner’s Kaddish.
Wendy Joering, executive director of the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center, who welcomed the crowd to the program, acknowledged the museum’s founders, including Sandra and Richard Bornstein. Richard Bornstein passed away on April 13.
FRAN OSTENDORF is the editor of Jewish Rhode Island.