November 9, 2021 was the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” in which the Nazis burned Jewish businesses and synagogues in Germany and Austria. Sources indicate that over 1,000 synagogues were burned or destroyed. All within the span of two days, 7,000 Jewish businesses were looted and burned. Because of Kristallnacht, approximately 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. In addition to the damage sustained, Kristallnacht presaged the beginning of the Holocaust in Europe.
Since August 2020, we are honored to have the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center on our second floor. On Kristallnacht, all of our Quest Noar classes had the great learning opportunity of visiting the Holocaust museum right here at KI.
We are thankful to Geoffrey Quinn, the Education Director, who gave our students a tour. The students were fascinated and moved, taking out their phones to take photos of some of the artifacts the museum holds. These artifacts include Nazi propaganda aimed at children such as children’s books used to teach anti-Jewish stereotypes, small booklets (similar to trading cards) of German military and many items from Holocaust survivors with Philadelphia and KI connections.
Our teens also participated in a memorial service in the sanctuary atrium in front of the Holocaust memorial candle. Rita Rosen Poley, Director/Curator of The Temple Judea Museum, spoke about the beautiful memorial candle and its meaning. Students also read testimonies from survivors of Kristallnacht, who were teens themselves on that horrible night. Cantor Levy sang “Eli, Eli,” and explained the significance of that song. We ended the evening with the Mourner’s’ Kaddish and a moment of silence. It was a meaningful evening of prayer and learning.
We are blessed to have this partnership with HAMEC, and we are looking forward to more opportunities to collaborate. Here are some pictures we would like to share.
Our whole congregation was engaged in learning for the Commemoration of Kristallnacht on Tuesday, as Rabbi Sussman was, at the same time, running the program “The Untold Story of the Lehman Family, and the Aid to the Jewish Refugees 1933-1945” with Karen Spiegel Franklin; Director of the Family Institute of the Leo Baeck Institute of New York and Consultant of Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Enjoy the recording below!
Cantor Amy Levy & Deborah Rosen, Director of Education