By Jacqueline Mitchell / Cleveland Jewish News
“Every one of us, including the survivors, and especially the children of the survivors, and friends and family of survivors, has to take upon us something concrete in order to perpetuate the memory of our loved ones,” Rabbi Moshe Gancz said in his Sept. 28 address at the Kol Israel 2014 fall memorial.
Gancz, who is educational director of Chabad of Cleveland, officiated the event, held at Zion Memorial Park in Bedford Heights in memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Nazi concentration camps. The service, sponsored by the Kol Israel Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, was open to the public.
Simon Fixler, Kol Israel historian, recited a memorial prayer, and Charles Gruenspan sang “Ani Maamin.” After a candle lighting for the 6 million who perished, Gancz delivered an emotional speech about the Holocaust victims and survivors.
He described each individual attendee as “a beautiful Torah scroll.”
“We continue to live as a stiff-necked nation that doesn’t give up,” Gancz said. “How many nations have tried writing our obituaries, but in the end we have written theirs. They have tried to destroy us, but thank God we hold on strong.”
He urged the audience to take a moment to reflect on the past year and look toward the future.
“Think about what we did this past year, and think about how much more we can accomplish in this coming year,” he said. “We have to remember what we can do for our loved ones. We are the hands and feet of our loved ones… our loved ones, even those who have perished, are living through us. We have to make sure we continue to be their hands and their feet, to do the mitzvahs, to perpetuate their memories.”
Alan Moskowitz of Lyndhurst said he attended the service in memory of his late parents.
“My parents were in the Holocaust, and they were liberated,” said Moskowitz, who described the service as beautiful.
After Gancz’s address, Eugene Davidovits sang tehillim, followed by “Kol Mole Rachamim” recited by Gruenspan. Gancz closed the ceremony with the kaddish, and the color guards processed out with Kol Israel and American flags.
The Kol Israel Foundation has been advocating for Jewish Holocaust survivors in the Cleveland area since 1959. Members strive to meet the social and emotional needs of survivors and their families by offering them social and educational programming.