[By M. C. Millman For Monsey Hamevaser]
As was previously reported in the Monsey Mevaser’s exclusive story, the Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance and Education, located in Suffern, NY, was pursuing its archival collections and storage area a number of months ago when a staff member discovered the seventy-five-year-old remains of kedoshim killed in the Holocaust.
The museum worked closely for months with a number of Monsey’s chevra kadisha as well as rabbanim including Rabbi Reuven Feinstein shlita, numerous local rabbanim and poskim, and Rabbi Elchonon Zohn, so as to come up with the most appropriate location in the bais hachaim and the most respectful manner to bury the kedoshim’s remains.
The museum plans to create a special memorial in the space allotted with a unique matzeiva bearing witness to the nameless souls buried there. The matzeiva will fittingly be written in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish. “Our intention,” says the museum curator, Julie Golding, “is to create a memorial that will inspire both the religious and nonreligious.”
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The matzeiva will also include a memorial to the millions of victims of the six death camps: Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno, Majdanek, and Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Hespedim will be delivered by Rabbi Nosson Scherman, General Editor of Artscroll/Mesorah Publications. Rabbi Yosef C. Golding, author of Faith Amid the Flames, will be mesader at the kevurah, and additional rabbanim will deliver Divrei Hisorerus. Chazzan Asher Scharf will be there to say the “Kail Malei Rachamim.”
Kaddish will be recited by Reb Moshe Gross, a great-grandson of Rav Shayala Kerestir and a survivor of Bergen Belson. Additionally, the Chief Rabbi of Poland prepared a letter to be read to attendees at the monumental event.
Participating in a levaya is known as a great chesed shel emes. In this case, the concept of Meis Mitzvah is even stronger. It includes an incredible once in a lifetime opportunity to give kavod hameis to kedoshim who died in the Holocaust, an opportunity so rare that there is no other place in America where victims of the Holocaust are buried. It will be the first of its kind.
A number of Monsey’s high schools have expressed an interest in sending their students to this unique historical event. Chaverim of Rockland will be on hand coordinating the logistics, including assisting with traffic and parking, which will be available at the cemetery. Holocaust survivors will be able to receive VIP parking passes by calling the museum at (845) 574-4099.
The ashes of these kedoshim, along with six million-plus others were stripped of their dignity, both in life and in death. It will be up to the Greater Monsey Community to accept the tremendous achrayus thrust upon them to bring the kedoshim who died in Chelmno to kever Yisroel. Monsey’s obligation will be to make the most of the once in a lifetime opportunity and accord these unknown neshamos – who could be any one of our grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles – the appropriate dignity by attending the kevurah.
The levaya will take place on Thursday, September 26, at 4:30 p.m. at the Monsey Jewish Cemetery on Brick Church Road (290 Route 306).
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