March of Remembrance Unites Christian and Jewish Communities to Vow “Never Again”
Vowing, “Never again,” about 500 members of the South Palm Beach County Jewish and Christian communities gathered in solidarity to commemorate the Holocaust at the March of Remembrance on Sunday, April 12, 2015, a few days before Yom HaShoah. A crowd of 250 gathered in the Boca Raton Christian School gymnasium at 3:00 pm. After a brief overview of the day’s events, the group walked half a mile along Boca Raton streets to Temple Beth El – proclaiming their purpose enroute with banners held high - for a deeply moving "Interfaith Holocaust Commemorative Remembrance Program." Walkers from throughout the community included many rabbis and Christian clergy, as well as Congressman Ted Deutch, State Representative Lori Berman, Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie and City Council Members Robert Weinroth and Scott Singer.
The 2015 March of Remembrance was a regional, collaborative effort uniting the Southeast Florida community through churches, synagogues and community groups. Planning for the event included, among others, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and its Jewish Community Relations Council, Victory Church, Boca Raton Interfaith Clergy Association, Boca Raton Christian School, Temple Beth El of Boca Raton, and The Flame Society.
Matt Levin, Federation President and CEO, opened the program before 500 community members from a wide range of Jewish and Christian traditions as well as ages. Levin affirmed the importance of joining together, “While our Jewish community learned the importance of ‘Never Again’ early, the impact of evil is not limited to one group. All of humanity suffers, and all of us must remember, educate ourselves and others, and rise against it.”
In his opening prayer, Pastor Don Karpinen, of Victory Church in Boca Raton affirmed, "I consider it an honor to work together with Jewish, Christian and Interfaith leaders in our local South Florida community to remember the Holocaust, honor survivors, and stand alongside multiple congregations to say, 'Never again — and not on our watch.'"
Norman Frajman, a local Holocaust survivor, received a standing ovation after sharing his experiences and perspectives. “With rumblings of tragedy and genocide, with hate crimes around us, survivors need the younger generation to hear us and understand our history so it is not repeated,” he urged. “By standing together, we show them that we can be united on this small planet regardless of differing religious beliefs.”
The crowd rose again in a heartfelt joint Vow Against Anti-Semitism, led by Boca Raton clergy, The Reverend Andrew J. Sherman of St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church and Rabbi David Steinhardt of B’nai Torah Congregation, before children from participating synagogues and churches helped the survivors in a deeply moving candlelighting ceremony. Noted violinist Gil Morgenstern provided live music, along with Temple Beth El Cantorial Soloist Michelle Auslander Cohen.
Rabbi Dan Levin of Temple Beth El offered the closing prayer. He said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to commemorate Yom HaShoah across the spectrum of our community’s religious life. It is inspiring to see so many people from different walks of life choose to come together to say that love and respect, not bigotry and hatred, are the values on which we will build our world together."