The Jewish Link: By Lisa Matkowsky | December 08, 2016
Teaneck—Congregation Keter Torah will host the inaugural capital campaign event and dessert reception on Saturday night, December 10, 8:00 p.m. to benefit a new Holocaust Memorial and Education Center.
This first fundraising event for the Holocaust Memorial will feature a musical performance by renowned Holocaust ethnomusicologist and concert violist, Dr. Tamara Freeman. She will perform on her 1935 Joseph Bausch viola, which was hidden during the Holocaust. “This evening is especially sacred for me because it’s for a Holocaust Memorial and Education Center in my own backyard,” said Freeman. “I’ve lived in Bergen County for 34 years and have had the privilege of performing throughout New Jersey, but to be part of the growth and success of this particular project is especially meaningful as it can educate and impact many generations to come, and pedagogy is my passion. The power of music is that it helps you feel history, and that is truly impactful.”
The new center, to be built on the Teaneck Municipal Green, will be both educationally stimulating and emotionally meaningful, and the committee looks forward to communal support in making it a reality after the four-year-plus planning process.
Co-chair Steve Fox said, “The project is unique; there is no other Holocaust Memorial in the county that will feature both a place to memorialize victims of the Nazi genocide as well as offer a multi-level educational program, which is being planned in cooperation with the Teaneck Library.”
Three memorials are planned to be located on one campus, including one for Enslaved Africans. The funding is separate; however, it will create what will be called a Garden to Nurture Human Understanding, where people can go from one memorial to the other, thereby broadening the reach of the project. “The proposed architectural concept creates a sense of unity and harmony, reinforcing the importance of cultural tolerance,” said Fox. “The committee’s vision is to memorialize those who died in the Holocaust and to educate people of all ages about the horrors that defined the Holocaust. “
“The music from the era that will be performed at the event, has a universality about it that encapsulates hope, longing, resistance, inner strength and triumph,” said Freeman. “It creates dialogue and understanding, just like this project. Before I studied Holocaust music, I couldn’t understand how music could be made during the Holocaust.” said Freeman. “But music empowers people in the most powerful and meaningful ways.”
The program will also include a presentation from Alan Hantman FAIA, 10th Architect for the Capitol and designer of the Holocaust Memorial. “This is a great opportunity to have a Holocaust Memorial and Education Center on the town green and two more, including an African slavery memorial, and it speaks to the ability of the Teaneck community to come together and appreciate each other,” said Hantman. “We will tell our story locally without replicating anything said at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC or the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. We can tell the stories of what happened to our families in Eastern Europe while celebrating life going forward.”
Fox, who has been involved from the beginning alongside co-chair Bruce Prince as a member of the Northern New Jersey Holocaust Memorial and Education Committee, has worked tirelessly to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust and ensure that the six million Jews who perished will never be forgotten. “Now, to execute this final vision, we need the support of the Bergen County Jewish community,” said Fox. “Funds raised at the event will benefit the construction of the memorial as well as assist in maintaining the completed project. This will be a center where you can bring your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, that will open dialogue about what happened to our ancestors in the Holocaust. “
There will be several ways to contribute. People can donate to memorialize a loved one. There will be a reading rail and a technological component, which will connect to an app with more information and detail. They also have a partnership with the Teaneck Library for follow-up discussions, and computers with video testimonials relevant to the local community. “This will truly be both an emotional and educational experience, and the reception mirrors that,” said Fox. “The architecture presentation and the evocative music will be a one-of-a-kind experience.”
The entire community of Bergen County is invited to attend the event for the Holocaust Memorial. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lisa Matkowsky