Ridgefield Clergy Association observes Holocaust Remembrance Day

Ridgefield area residents may participate in a community-wide observance of Yom HaShoah-Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, May 2, at 7 p.m., at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 351 Main St., Ridgefield. The event marks the 74th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps at the close of World War II.

“Recalling the Shoah (Holocaust) must be more than an exclusively Jewish practice,” said Rabbi David Reiner of Shir Shalom. “Resolving to end hatred, and taking up the call of ‘Never Again,’ must be shared by all peoples in every community.”

Organized by the Ridgefield Clergy Association, under the leadership of Rabbi Reiner and Shir Shalom Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray, the 40-minute memorial service will include prayers, readings, and songs related to the Holocaust.

Yom HaShoah (Hebrew for “Remembrance Day for the Holocaust and Heroism”) pays homage, with a memorial candle lighting, to the 11 million people of various faiths who were killed under the Nazi regime. The solemn commemoration takes place all over the world. Since 1951, it has been observed in Israel as a national holiday.

The Rev. Whitney Altopp, of the Ridgefield Clergy Association, said, “In addition to the 6 million Jews who were killed, there were 5 million other victims, largely people of conscience — people who recognized the wrongness of the Nazi regime, and knew that they couldn't stay silent. We want to honor them all.”

Cantor Katchko-Gray added, “As a student of Professor Elie Wiesel, I’ve learned that we must remember and speak truth to power whenever there is injustice. As we witness a troubling rise in anti-semitism throughout the world, we are painfully aware that the lessons from the Holocaust are needed today, perhaps more than ever.”