By Sheldon Fine
Photos by Shmuel Lenchevsky
Monday evening, Mayor Bill DeBlasio joined the West Side COJO and the Lincoln Square Synagogue in a major community event to commemorate Yom Ha Shoah – the special day of Holocaust Remembrance.
The program began with an emotionally moving memorial service led by Lincoln Square’s Rabbi Shaul Robinson and their Chazzan Yanky Lemmer. Then Michael Landau, Chairman of West Side COJO, introduce the mayor by acknowledging his deep passion for human dignity, democracy and justice.
Mayor De Blasio, who has visited Yad Vashem in Israel three times, emphasized the importance of continuing to gain a deeper and deeper understanding of the lessons of the Holocaust.
He stressed the need for vigilance on the part of government and all of us to respond strongly against anti-Semitism in our city and world-wide and to pursue and punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.
Michael Landau, Chairman of the west Side COJO, remarked on the Mayor’s “passion and commitment to human dignity, democracy and justice. ”
“It is a great honor for West Side Jewish Community to have the mayor choose to be With us and share his reflections of Yom Hashoa.”
Also, in attendance were Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilmembers Mark Levine and Helen Rosenthal, Rabbi Avrohom Marmorstein, President of the COJO and Sheldon Fine, Vice Chairman of the COJO and President of the Young Israel of the West Side.
The program included the screening of the extraordinarily educational and touching film, Here II Learned to Love.
This documentary tells the story, hidden for nearly six decades, of two brothers who retrace their journey as survivors through the nightmare landscape of Eastern Europe during World War II.