The Mandell JCC and Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut partnered with Voices of Hope to host a ‘Reading of the Names’ in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Mandell JCC, the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT) and Voices of Hope hosted a special Community-Wide Reading of the Names ceremony as part of the Holocaust Day of Remembrance on Monday, May 2, 2016, at the Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, CT. The day-long event paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, and served as both a reminder and a memorial for the community.
The list of victims’ names, provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem, was read by members of the Greater Hartford community, including influential leaders, school groups, and Mandell JCC and Jewish Federation Association staff. Some of the readers included, West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka; Trinity University President Dr. Joanne Berger-Sweeney; Kingswood Oxford Headmaster Dennis Bisgaard; Hall High School Principal Dan Zittoun, members of the West Hartford Police Department, and the children and grandchildren of local Holocaust survivors. The ceremony also featured student readers from various local schools, including the Watkinson School, Hebrew High School of New England, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) and more.
“Reading the names of victims was powerful,” said Jack Hutensky, a member of BBYO. “The connection between the past and the present that this tradition fosters both honors those who lost their lives, and serves as a much needed reminder that we must all work to ensure that something like the Holocaust never happens again.”
Many participants read the names and ages of members of their family. “I spent a very emotional ten minutes reading names,” said Jodi Schwartz, Jewish Federation Association board member. “Some of the names were those in my family. We are their legacy, we are their voices now.”
The Mandell JCC, JFACT and Voices of Hope offer various programs for Holocaust Survivors and their families. For more information on programs and future Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration events, contact the Mandell JCC, 860-236-4571, www.mandelljcc.org, the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut, 860-727-5770, www.jfact.org or Voices of Hope, www.ctvoicesofhope.org.