“History replays itself, and today, on Yom HaShoah, we must understand that the events leading up to the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust are happening once again at this very moment,” declared Svetlana Kharkovsky, 68, of Brooklyn, as she stood amidst several hundred people who gathered outside the Iranian mission to the United Nations in midtown Manhattan on Sunday, April 7th.
The annual event that attracts hundreds of people throughout the tri-state area was organized by Lynne and Nessim Tammam of the Yom HaShoah Mobilization Committee. Speaking to reporters, Lynne Bursky-Tammam said, “Unfortunately, once again we had to organize a Holocaust remembrance event in front of the Iranian Mission. Fortunately, we were blessed to have the assistance of people who understand the immediate threat. The real credit goes to the individuals who helped to publicize this event, the speakers who came and spoke informatively and passionately, and to the people who came from near and far. It is critical that we publicly remember the millions who perished, especially in front of the ultimate symbol of Holocaust denial, to make sure that their legacy is not forgotten.”
Serving as master of ceremonies of the gathering was Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, a CUNY trustee and quintessential Jewish activist, who introduced Cantor Meir Popowitz. The cantor w sang a moving rendition of the Star Spangled Banner followed by the lighting of six memorial torches.
Stepping up to the podium to light the symbolic yahrzeit candles that commemorate the lives and legacies of those lost during World War II were Michael Sirota and Jane Zaturansky, the first and second vice presidents, respectively, of the New York Association of Holocaust Survivors.
Among the celebrated dignitaries and religious leaders: Pastor James David Manning of the ATLAH Christian Church in Harlem; Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale; Rep. Eliot Engel (D) of New York;New York State Assemblyman David Weprin (D) of Queens; Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA),; Ari Kagan, candidate for the NYC Council in the 48th Community District,; Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov of Tehilat Sephardim in Queens and a leader of the Bukharian Community in Kew Gardens Hills; New York City Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, and mayoral candidate Erick Selgado.
The event concluded with the recitation of heartfelt prayers for the Israel Defense Forces and the American Military Forces that were delivered by Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov, and the singing of “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem.
By Fern Sidman