The Israelite Community of Geneva, Communauté Israélite de Genève (CIG), headed by the Grand Rabbi of Geneva, Isaac Dayan, of Moroccan origin, had a very interesting program unifying the community on this occasion. Holocaust survivor, Henri-Borland, saved when he was barely a teenager, shared his story this time with young Jewish students. The CIG was once headed by another Holocaust survivor, the late Henri Milsztajn. It is at Moissac Orphans’ Children’s Home, in France, that Milsztajn met his friend for life, Elie Wiesel, after both were rescued.
The well respected Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, a distinguished Holocaust survivor with an impressive following, often tells the story of what Jewish women “knew” they had to do after their liberation from concentration camps: “Marry and have as many children as possible.” The beloved Rebbetzin is the head of a spiritual empire, Hineni, in Manhattan, the organization her late father, Rav Jungreis, adviced her to create. Now, her children, count among them two rabbis and her grand- and great-grand-children, all together, are continuing with her outreach work. In New York City, Fifth Avenue Synagogue, Harvard-educated Rabbi Yacov Kermaier led the memorial where the keynote speaker was none other than the pre-eminent Holocaust survivor and humanist, Nobel Peace Prize 1986, Elie Wiesel. The synagogue famous tenor, Cantor Josef Malovany enhanced the event with his world known voice that has been heard from Moscow, to Budapest, Vienna, London, Warsaw, Paris, Tokyo, to the joy of delighted audiences. Dr. Elie Abadie, M.D., brilliant Rabbi of the sephardic congregation, Edmod J. Safra Synagogue in Manhattan, accompanied by his wife Estie, have represented the Sephardic Jewry at the March of the Living, which started in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and concluded in Birkenau, Poland. Safra Synagogue was founded by Madame Lily Safra, in the memory of her husband, banker Edmond J. Safra, OBM, in December 2002. Dignitaries including the Chief Rabbi of Israel and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended an official inauguration of the building which has a magnificent architecture. Israel National News reported on the March of the Living Auschwitz-Birkenau: “Since the first March of the Living was held in 1988, over 150,000 youth from around the world have marched down the same path leading from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Holocaust Remembrance Day.” In times when staggering anti-Semitism is happening in the world, the Holocaust should not only be a memory for Jews, but it is even more so for the world at large, because “for evil to triumph, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing.” As for the Jews’ responsibility, they have precise instructions: “I the LORD have called unto you in righteousness, and have taken hold of your hand, and submitted you as the people’s covenant, as a light unto the nations” Isaiah 42:6. Between 1901 and 2013, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to approximately 855 laureates. At least 193 (22%) of them have been Jewish Nobel Prize recipients. Indeed, the Jewish people have delivered the largest contribution for the betterment of mankind and they continue to do so. ©Elia©ElianaBenador