Holocaust Remembrance Day event set Sunday – Oakridger

Posted By on April 20, 2022

Ronnie Bogard| Special to The Oak Ridger

The Jewish Congregation of Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church have partnered to present the annual community Holocaust Remembrance Program from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24, on Zoom and in person at JCOR, 101 W. Madison Lane near the hospital.

The program will feature a candle-lighting ceremony, songs, readings, prayers, and a special closing speaker.The city of Oak Ridge has proclaimedApril 24to be Holocaust Remembrance Day for 2022.Mayor Warren Gooch will present the proclamation during the program.

Mira Kimmelman, a local Holocaust survivor who died April 17, 2019, initiated the Holocaust Remembrance Program many years ago.She is the author of "Echoes From the Holocaust: A Memoir" (1997) and "Life beyond the Holocaust: Memories & Realities" (2005).She spent many years lecturing to various community groups and classes about her experiences.

Miras children, Benno and Gene, partnered with the Tennessee Holocaust Commission to establish the Mira Kimmelman Learning From the Holocaust Contest in 2021.This year, two individuals who were winners in that essay contest will participate as Readers in the Remembrance Program.

Emily Salko from Oak Ridge High School was first-place winner in the High School Essay category, and Chloe Collins from Oakdale School in Morgan County, was a second-place winner in the Middle School category.

This year the closing speaker for the program, Robert Fortney, is a part of the next generation, who continues theGreatest Generationslegacy with the responsibility of educating others about the Holocaust.

One of Oak Ridges beloved physicians, Dr. Thomas Guy Fortney, Jr., passed away in January.What was surprising to many was to learn that he had not only fought in World War II, but he also participated in the liberation of Ohrdruf and Buchenwald concentration camps.Later in his life, he became passionate about sharing his story, first with his grandchilds classroom and then at numerous high schools and universities. His oldest son, Robert Fortney, has graciously agreed to participate in this years Remembrance Program and speak in honor of his fathers experiences and legacy.

Each year there is a Mira Kimmelman Holocaust Study Group held in the weeks prior to the Holocaust Remembrance Program.The study group is currently led by Julie Kinder-McMillan, eighth-grade English Language Arts teacher at Robertsville Middle School, and Steve Reddick, retired eighth-grade Social Studies teacher from Jefferson Middle School.The study group is designed to explore the events leading up to and including the Holocaust, along with the roles of the international community, religious groups, propaganda, and our own self-reflection in response to hate and intolerance.

Kinder-McMIllan won the Belz-Lipman Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education from the Tennessee Holocaust Commission this year.She will be presented with the Award by TennesseeHolocaust Commission Chair Larry Leibowitz at the Holocaust Remembrance Program .

The JCOR Mens Club donated yellow memorial candles for anyone attending the service to take home and light with their family after the program.The memorial candles are in memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.The candle is modeled after a traditional Jewish memorial Yahrzeit candle that burns for 24 hours during periods of mourning and on the anniversary of death of a loved one.

It is now up to all of us to carry Miras legacy forward and educate ourselves and the community about the Holocaust.

Anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of hatred continue to rise in the United States and around the world. It is now all the more important to remember the Holocaust and empower ourselves to make the world a better place for future generations.

The Holocaust Remembrance Program is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Interfaith Partnership, and the public is encouraged to attend. The Oak Ridge Interfaith Partnership is based out of ORUUC and is designed to bring people from different religious backgrounds together so that we can educate, eliminate prejudice, and build a stronger community.

If you prefer to attend virtually and have not yet received the Zoom link, you may obtain the link for the 2022 Holocaust Remembrance Program by sending an email toevents@jcor.info.

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Holocaust Remembrance Day event set Sunday - Oakridger

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