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Re’ut BBYO teens hold a moving Yom Hashoah at B’Nai Tikvah-Beth Israel

Read this story in Jewish Community Voice

The predominant geography of South Jersey Region BBYO includes chapters in and around Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Mt. Laurel, and/or Moorestown. However, South Jersey Region BBYO is much larger than that, with chapters located in Princeton (Princeton BBYO), and Washington Township (Re’ut BBYO). The members of these two chapters typically take extensive treks to Cherry Hill for the majority of regional functions, showing their singular commitment to the BBYO cause, in addition to the excellent events they hold.

To mark Yom Hashoah—the Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day. Re’ut led their own Holocaust Remembrance Service at Congregation B’Nai Tikvah- Beth Israel inSewell, taking a chance to lead their synagogue and opening it to BBYO members. Leaders of the service included Aaron Breslau, Dana Breslau, Rachel Crowthers, Ben Curwin, Ethan Levin, Giovanni Lomanno, Gabby Moskalow, Paige Nadler, Andrew Quigley, Dara Wax and Noah Wenger.

Starting off the ceremony, each member of the congregation was given a yellow star to wear and was directed to sit separately based on gender. As the service began, six service leaders read the stories of six different Holocaust victims ranging from the age of five to 30. Each narrative ended with the death of each by Nazi extermination tactics. Six candles were lit for these six people.

The names of only a handful of those six million Jews that died in the Holocaust were read by each service leader. They noted that if we were to read each name of the six million Jews who died, we would be reading for over three months.

Taking a more personal turn, one advisor of Re’ut BBYO, Josh Aronovitch, read a poem about discrimination, and the chapter’s other advisor, Jess Lightman, talked about her experiences on the same subject. These moments transitioned into the next part of the service, where the congregation was split into six groups based on the slips of paper given earlier, each with a name on it. In each group was a range of ages, genders, and social backgrounds, but all were Jewish. Each group had a conversation about discrimination, being Jewish, and how to deal with being discriminated against for being Jewish. Andrew Quigley, a leader of the service, noted that the service “not only had us reflect on the Holocaust, but provided us with the confidence to stand up to other types of discrimination that occur in the world around us.”

The congregation was led in the Mourner’s Kaddish and encouraged everyone to stand to remember the six million.

Rachel Cohen of Dafna BBG said that the service “was extremely impressive and well-planned. We engaged in meaningful dialogue with older community members, which was a nice part of the service.”

Overall, Re’ut BBYO made South Jersey Region proud with their moving and eye-opening service.

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