Yom HaShoah

7th Candle

Five Towns marks Yom HaShoah


As is customary at Yom HaShoah commemorarions, six candles were lit in the Five Towns on Sunday night, one for each million of the six million Jews who were slain by the Nazis. Four of the candles were lit by Holocaust survivors and two on behalf of survivors who could not particpate.

But a seventh candle was lit as well, to acknowledge the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre and its aftermath, including the continued captivity of hostages and the growing number of Israeli casualities — 614 Israeli soldiers have been killed since Oct. 7 and more than 3,200 injured, many seriously. That candle was lit by Einav Danion, mother of 24-year-old hostage Ori Danion.
“It feels inappropriate to divert our attention from the horrors of the Holocaust and the lessons learned from the survivors,” Dana Frenkel said in opening the program. “And yet, how could we not address the brutal massacre that took place on Oct. 7?

“The disappointing reactions of some of our supposed friends, the repulsive displays of antisemitism on our so-called enlightened college campuses — including shouts of Intifada revolution, Zionist go back to Europe — the devastating revelation of the Jew hatred that has been simmering for decades, there is nothing I can say that will make me feel that I’ve adequately addressed this community tonight.”

Survivor Sally Muscel, delivering the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Memorial Address, described how her parents sent her away, as a 10-year-old, from their Polish home as the Nazis approached. Abandonment trauma haunts her still, she said.

“I really couldn’t understand that my parents wanted to save my life,” she said. “I thought that they don’t want me anymore.”
As she moved east with a family friend, “the way we were traveling was very difficult. The bombs were falling. There were dead soldiers. There were so many people that want to get our horses. I did not stop crying.”

She eventually made it to Sibera, and with great difficulty and perseverance survived the war.

Heller read from a haunting poem she composed:
I remember the loving softness of my mother, the gentle kindness of my father. I screamed and I cried — I will be good, I will behave. I promise, I promise, please don’t send me away. …

I remember my father’s words: “The winds are so strong. …Whatever will be is not ours to know. So remember my child your father’s last words — no matter what life has in store for you, remember my child, remember well, that you are a daughter of Israel.” I remember. I remember forever and ever.

After the war Heller married in a DP camp in 1948 and came to the US in 1949. She and her husband had two daughters, seven grandchildren, and 29 great grandchildren.
Other survivors joining Heller in lighting candles were Livia Horowitz, Barbara Baker, and Shoshana Friedman.

“We focus on the experiences of those who survived the Holocaust, and those who were tragically murdered al kiddush Hashem, Frenkel said. “Tonight, we reaffirm our commitment to the kedoshim — never again. …

“Never again will we be a nation without a force to protect it. But instead, a nation of heroes and heroines who stand tall and proud, bursting with pride at the opportunity to protect the Jewish people.”

The Greater Five Towns Community Yom HaShoah Program brought seven local shuls together at Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence — Congregation Anshei Chesed, Congregation Bais Tefilah of Woodmere, Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach, and the Young Israels of Hewlett, Lawrence-Cedarhursrt, and Woodmere.

CORRECTION: The original post of this story incorrectly identified the opening presenter. Dana Frenkel is correctly identified in this version as presenting the evening's opening remarks.