Posted by: gruvenreuven | May 4, 2008

Philadelphia Yom Hashoah

Rodeph Shalom SynagogueAs we do each year, today my family and I attended the Philadelphia Yom HaShoah memorial service. This annual memorial ceremony for the Six Million Jewish Martyrs who perished in the holocaust is typically held on the Benjamin Franklin parkway in center city Philadelphia. Because of the threat of inclement weather, the service was moved to the Congregation Rodeph Shalom synagogue a few blocks from city hall.


The shul, founded in 1795 is now home to a reform congregation. That being the case, the synagogue is one of the most majestic that I have had the pleasure to vist. With over a 200 year history, it’s hard not to to get lost in the architecture of the sanctuary.


Attendees to the memorial service were:

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who gave a moving keynote address calling out the fact that genocide is not thing of past, and must be squelched where ever and when ever it rears hit’s head. (As we still have a long way to go in regards to Darfur)


Mark Talisman, the second Keynote speaker Presented a sapling of a tree from the Theresienstadt concentration camp.


Missing this year was the Philadelphia Mayor. In the past recent years, Mayor John Street was always in attendance. This year, Philadelphia’s new Mayor, Michael Nutter, was a no-show. He was listed in the program’s itinerary, but sent a representative in his place.


We go each year to show our support, and to remember those who perished. (both within and outside our family). Each year my father in-law (a camp survivor) is given the honor to present a wreath as part of the ceremony. For the past 4 years, my son Alex has always walked with him when presenting the wreath. A true testament that we as a people will forever carry on.


After Governor Rendell gave his keynote address he was escorted out of the synagogue. Before leaving, Governor Rendell did stop to shake the hand of my son Alex, and chat with him for a few moments. Needless to say we were all quite proud of Alex.


Below is a snippet from Governor Rendell’s address.


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