HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR LUNCHEON 2012 (scroll down for Photos)
Article BY Dr. Henry Tenenbaum
What's too painful to remember we simply choose to forget (Memories, Streisand). “Touch me; It’s so easy to leave me. All alone with my memory. Of my days in the sun. If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is, look a new day has begun” (Cats), Never forget (Our Jewish Mantra).
Memories of our past, as the songs, the lyricists write about try to frame the human memory capacity into our identity, who we are as a people, a nation and a species. Yet there are those who work hard to make us forget and deny what happened to more than six million Jews of which one million were children. Those that survived the atrocities were honored to make sure that their memories are commemorated and cherished by the next generation.
On that day, December 6th, 2012 at Temple Emanuel a magnificent tribute was given to our survivors in the Manatee/Sarasota area. There were well over 115 survivors who attended, along with many of their children and grandchildren! What a festive occasion this was!
The magnitude of this luncheon must have put a smile on our founders’ face, Dr. Helen Fagin and her cohorts. We (Generations After) are so proud that we were able to provide this tribute that commingled the memories of atrocities, with the hope and love for tomorrow.
The lovely Betty Silverman served as our moderator and kept the multidimensional program flowing. After the initial welcome speech and introduction of the new Jewish Federation of Manatee/Sarasota President, Ms. Nancy Swart, the Noa Dance Group performed. Our organizer and Director Ms. Orna Nissan brought them here along with the sister city committee. The dance troupe was from our sister city, Tel Mond, in Israel. They put on four lively dances that kept us mesmerized and in awe at their beauty, grace, and flow of movements.
After the clamoring for more of the dances subsided, Rabbi Glickman, of Temple Emanuel, where the commemoration was held, performed the blessings for the wine and bread.
Lunch was catered Zildjian Catering and expertly prepared. The presentation was artistically done, with a well trained staff of waiters and waitresses. The food was exceptional, as most plates were wiped clean.
After the festive lunch Rabbi Glickman invited the G.A. members to light the menorah. The menorah was gorgeous and proudly presented at the head of the gathering hall. It was tall, with outstretched fingers that were being illuminated as if it was saying, bless us all Hashem as we stand here acknowledging the miracle of Hanukah and those who have survived the atrocities. They too are the miracle of light, as their stories strengthen our heritage, courage and need to be a people and one with G-d.
As we were being overwhelmed with the pageantry of the Menorah ceremonies and the love in the room, Susan Swartz gave a commemorative speech honoring the survivors. Her speech was heartfelt and the attention she received from the survivors assuredly said, “We hear you and are so pleased we are passing the candle of memory to you.”
Al Bottner, survivor and hidden child was then called to the podium. This gentleman is a class act. He was articulate, well dressed, and a role model for those who need an anchor to overcome adversity. His speech was arousing, and brought the destruction of persecution to its knees, and his love of life destroyed the insanity of genocide and prejudice. Mr. Bottner was an engineer by trade, and humanitarian by choice, a survivor by grace of G-d and his capacity to survive.
The closing remarks were performed by Howard Tevlowitz, Director of the Jewish Federation that sponsored the luncheon along with Martin and Barbara arch. He provided the audience with a glimpse of the powerful programming and direction that the Federation was taking.
This year’s survivor’s luncheon forms more enduring and loving memories as it was successful in commemorating the memories of our past, those who survived the atrocities, and ensuring that our heritage will never perish. G-d blesses our survivors, the United States of America and Israel.
To learn about Holocaust Education programs please contact Orna Nissan at 941-371-4546