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2024 SOMA Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Service

This year’s service is on April 14, 2024, at Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church in Maplewood, NJ.

Get ready for a music-themed tribute that will touch your heart and soul. Stay tuned for more details – you won’t want to miss this special event.

For the past 47 years, the towns of South Orange and Maplewood have combined their spiritual, civic, and social strengths to produce the annual Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Service. 

Community religious leaders, including Sister Rose Thering, Rabbi Jehiel Orenstein, Msgr. Philip Morris, and the Reverend Charles Thompson, under the leadership of Max Randall of the South Mountain Lodge of B’nai B’rith, championed the need for this service to help remember six million Jews among the many more millions who were systematically dehumanized and slaughtered during the Holocaust. Jews, Poles, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, the disabled, Roma (commonly referred to as Gypsies), Slavs, and political dissidents were among the tens of millions who faced the unspeakable consequences of their only crime — to be born who they were, different from the majority. 

Our annual observance, conceived in memory of those murdered and dedicated to the elimination of religious and racial persecution and the elevation of justice in our lives, takes place in a different house of worship each year. This practice has achieved an active collaborative relationship among citizens of all faiths and persuasions, involving public and private schools, their faculties, and elected civic leadership. 

Each year, the working committee selects a theme and speaker to commemorate the past and illuminate this dark period in world history. The speakers, most of whom are survivors of this horrific time, have also included Righteous Gentiles, men and women who placed their own lives in jeopardy to save and protect the lives of those in peril, and liberators, those who witnessed the nightmare of concentration camps first hand. Their stories of personal courage in the face of overwhelming challenges continue to enrich, inspire, and motivate us to speak out against prejudice and discrimination so that we may help prevent another Holocaust. 

There are those who have chosen to deny the facts of the Holocaust. Many of us, privileged to have served in the battle to eradicate this inhumanity, have borne witness to the reign of these unspeakable events. Those surviving are, in and of themselves, ample proof that there can be no denial. 

May we continue to remember the millions who were brutalized and sacrificed on the altar of the world’s complacency. Let us vow to use the power within each of us to be vigilant and protest continuing intolerance and genocide.   Let us open our eyes to face today’s prejudice, bigotry, and senseless killing and suffering which must be challenged if we are to give new meaning to the phrase “Never Again!”