Organizer: 'The Event Is Extremely Powerful And Moving'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Several events were held around the region to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was to begin at sundown Sunday evening.

New York’s largest commemoration was held at Temple Emanu-El on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

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The Annual Gathering of Remembrance was started more than 40 years ago by Holocaust survivors.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization and the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants co-sponsor the annual event.

“The event every year is attended by more than 2,000 people. Holocaust survivors, their families and others who want to join together to commemorate and remember the Holocaust,” David Marwell, Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage told WCBS 880. “It’s very important because not everyone who lost someone in the Holocaust knows the dates that they were murdered.”

The event featured a candle-lighting ceremony that symbolizes passing memories from one generation to the next.

“The event is an extremely powerful and moving event, which the public can follow on the Internet. It’s very important for people to come together at least once a year to mark this occasion and to remember and to mourn and to honor those who survived,” Marwell said.

LINK: Follow Temple Emanu-El’s Gathering Of Remembrance

Marwell said Holocaust survivors spoke at the event. Elected officials were also expected to attend.

“It’s important to have a time to commemorate that loss. And so Holocaust Commemoration Day, or Yom HaShoah as it’s known in Hebrew, is an occasion where we can remember and think about those who perished and honor those who survived,” Marwell told WCBS 880.

Members of the Upper West Side community were also to read the names of those who were killed during the Holocaust during an all-night event.

The reading of some of the 6 million names will begin at 10 p.m. at Lincoln Square Synagogue and will resume Monday morning at 9 a.m. at the Manhattan JCC. The reading of the names was expected to end at 6 p.m. on Monday.

Teens volunteers in Yonkers to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Teens volunteering in Yonkers to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

This is the 15th consecutive year that residents of the Upper West Side have gathered to read the names of Holocaust victims.

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Also Sunday, two very different groups of children from Westchester County came together in their own way to honor those lost.

As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, the teens from Westhab – a Yonkers-based community organization, and J-Teen – a community service organization for Jewish youth, worked together to turn a rundown lot on Elm Street in Yonkers into a garden.

The teens installed park benches in a vacant lot and planted a chestnut tree in honor of teenage Holocaust victim Anne Frank, whose diary documented the horrors of the Holocaust and the millions who died.

“I had several family members pass away in the Holocaust, unfortunately, and to me, it’s very special to be here today,” said J-Teen member Danielle Silverman, of New Rochelle.

“We can always help out; there’s always a way to make things better,” added Westhab member Sidney Reeves of Yonkers. “Things can get better.”

About 50 teens participated in the event to mark Yom HaShoah. With their rakes in hand and their paintbrushes full of color, the teens all worked to give back.

The goal was to accomplish “stuff that we can do as one, as we can get together and make a mural, and fix up the neighborhood,” said Westhab member Tyshaun Jones.

“We thought that was the best way that two groups of teens could come together to commemorate was by working together,” said Abbe Marcus, leadership director for J-Teen.

For the groups kids, it was not just about their work Sunday, it’s also about the two groups coming together and learning about each other.

“In the Jewish tradition, we’re taught to always teach our stories to the future, and to others who may not know of it,” said J-Teen member Marc Hersch of Scarsdale.

“We’ve gotten to be such close friends, and they’re actually coming to my synagogue next week, and I’m going to their church,” Silverman said.

The Yonkers event was sponsored by the UJA-Federation of New York.

Yom HaShoah begins at sundown on Sunday and ends at sundown on Monday.

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