The Town of Fairfield's Holocaust Committee invites the public to attend a community Interfaith Focus for the Fairfield Holocaust Commemoration on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 7:30 pm at First Church Congregational, 148 Beach Road, corner of Old Post Road.
In a powerful sign of interfaith unity, the Town of Fairfield will gather to commemorate the Holocaust with a Yom HaShoah observance on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.
This is the 38th year the Town has sponsored the Commemoration which has been hosted by First Church since its inception.
“First Church is honored to host the community for this 38th Annual Holocaust Commemoration and offer a space for shared lament in a sacred setting,” said Reverend Vanessa Rose of First Church Congregational. She added, “We are continuing our commitment, set by my predecessors, along with their esteemed Rabbi colleagues, decades ago, to speaking out against the injuries and injustices of Christian Anti-Semitism. This difficult and necessary work by community and spiritual leaders includes recommitting to being educated members of a community ready to address any acts of hatred in our own time and place. May our community be shaped through this process of remembering, by lighting candles together in mourning for the souls who perished.”
This year’s keynote speaker, Rabbi Philip Lazowski, will share his personal story of survival. Philip Lazowski was born in the small town of Bielica (present-day Belarus) in 1930. German forces marched into Bielica on June 28, 1941 and began to slaughter the Jewish population in a mass killing operation.
"The shooting began immediately and without discrimination, Rabbi Lazowski said. My father went to the basement of the house and watched the carnage through the window, while the rest of my family, my mother, three brothers and baby sister, huddled in what seemed to be the safety of our house...My boyhood ended on that black day of June 28,1941 with the roar of the trucks. I was eleven years old."
After the war Philip, his father Josef, and younger brother Rachmil (Robert) made their way to a displaced persons camp in Austria. In 1947, he boarded a ship for the trip to the United States. He eventually graduated from Yeshiva University, earned his Doctorate in Jewish Studies and was ordained in 1962, serving at Beth Sholom Bnai Israel Synagogue in Hartford for 30 years. Rabbi Lazowski is the author of several books including, Faith and Destiny, an autobiographical account of his Holocaust experience. He has been active in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. He has served as a Hartford Police Chaplain, a member of the Board of Commissions on Aging, and was a past president of both the Educators' Council of Connecticut and the Jewish Education Council of Hartford. He is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly of Connecticut and serves as Rabbi Emeritus of The Emanuel Synagogue.
The Fairfield Holocaust Commemoration Committee is chaired by Adele Jacobs, the daughter of two survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen.
Ms. Jacobs stated, “There has never been another time since the Shoah when it was more urgent, more important, to remember what pure vile hatred did to millions of Jews. We will come together at First Church to hope and pray that human kindness will conquer hatred, and we hope that the citizens of Fairfield will stand together with us at First Church. As Elie Weisel once said: The opposite of love it not hate. It is indifference.”
The Commemoration will begin with a candlelight procession to the Church where volunteers will read the names of the concentration camps. The Fairfield First Selectwoman’s Office, Fairfield County Children’s Choir, Fairfield Warde High School String Quartet and Fairfield Ludlowe High School will be among the many town organizations participating in the ceremony.
Facebook live streaming at @firstchurchffld.
For more information, please contact Adele Jacobs, Fairfield Holocaust Commemoration Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.