The Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton announced that, due to the pandemic, it is postponing two annual fall programs: the Day of Caring and the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony, both of which are held at the Temple Israel Cemetery. The Federation hopes that the events will be held in future years.
“We at the Federation are concerned about you – our community that have been so supportive and so caring these last several months,” said Suzanne Holwitt, president of the Federation. “We know how difficult this time has been with stay-at-home orders – without being able to visit families who live near or far, or in other countries – and, yet, you’ve been strong and we, in Broome County, are doing fairly well. We know that we’ve lost loved ones or have had loved ones sickened by this virus (or by other diseases). Please know that we are here for you.”
The Holocaust Memorial Ceremony was reinstated on the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur after Rhonda Levine spoke during a Super Sunday event in 2015 about the original ceremonies held at the stone erected by the Get Together Club. “As part of her talk, Rhonda talked about this memorial stone which came about as a result of Lillian Schneider’s husband, Joe, who said he had no place to say Kaddish as his parents died in the Holocaust and had no grave,” Holwitt said. “By the time, the memorial stone was finished, there were 250 names inscribed and placed in a copper box buried beneath the stone. The stone reads, ‘In memory of the victims of racial persecution who lost their lives in Europe during the years 1933-1945. They will never be forgotten.’”
Holwitt noted this was a difficult decision to make and wanted to thank those who made the stone possible. “Thank you to all of the women of the Get Together Club – women from the city of Binghamton and the surrounding more rural areas who bonded over their shared German Jewish heritage and who all worked together to raise the funds – for their insight, for their planning and for their foresight to create this memorial,” she added. “We hope that next year we will again, return to this very important tradition.”