Clifton—Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who were killed in World War II by the Nazis and their collaborators. Around the world, Jewish Holocaust survivors, family members of victims and the greater Jewish community come together on this day to remember both the mourned and the nameless who were lost to this atrocity. Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute hosted a very personal Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, April 24, which included residents and tenants who are Holocaust survivors, as well as others who were soldiers in the fight against the Nazis and their allies.
Led by Daughters of Miriam Center’s director of religious services, Rabbi Moshe Mirsky, residents, tenants and family members said prayers, told of their experiences and lost ones, and lit memorial candles. “We must constantly remind the world that every nation must control their fanatical individuals who are spreading their blind hate and poison,” said Holocaust survivor David Goldkorn. The annual commemoration resonated deeply for many of DMC’s seniors, all of whom lived through this turbulent time and knew the horrors of the war all too well.
One resident said she “saw people dying, my uncle, aunt and cousin… it wasn’t a dream.” Another DMC resident who led the audience in the “Song of the Partisans,” Milton Yudkowitz, escaped the Holocaust at age 19 and is now 92. He and his wife, Gloria, also a survivor, moved to Daughters of Miriam in 2010 to live closer to their children. The Yudkowitz couple’s son and daughter participated in the lighting of six memorial candles for the six million Jews who perished.
“One of the many things that people have here is the opportunity to share history with each other,” explained Rabbi Mirsky. “It is especially meaningful to hear the stories from Holocaust survivors,” he said, “and every year we have fewer survivors.”
David Goldkorn, the featured speaker, and his wife, Marilyn, also a survivor, have been living at the Center for more than four years. He told the audience about the exhaustion of marching in rows in quick step toward the American front. He mustered the strength to move from the last row, where he was in peril of being taken to the forest and shot by an SS officer, to two rows ahead, where he had a chance of surviving the journey. Goldkorn has documented his story in a memoir, and said, “Any one of us survivors can write volumes about their experiences during the war, and any one of us would be happy if we didn’t have anything to write about.”
Rabbi Mirsky explained that Yom HaShoah V’HaGevurah, as it is sometimes referred to, means “Day of the Holocaust and of Strength.” “The model we have at Daughters of Miriam is of people who hold each other up and give each other humor and strength.” The annual Holocaust Remembrance Day program at the Center is both a solemn and life-affirming event, ensuring that the memories of victims and survivors are not lost, and that their lives and legacies are cherished by future generations.
Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute is a state-of-the-art long-term care and subacute facility providing broad-based services to seniors. Emphasizing a continuum of care focus, Center divisions include a skilled nursing facility, a subacute care wing, a dementia care pavilion, a rehabilitation program, a sheltered workshop, hospice care, a respite program and senior housing with supportive services.
Situated on the campus of Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute, the Esther and Sam Schwartz Building (Miriam Apartments II) consists of 150 one-bedroom apartments with 28 units specially adapted to make them accessible to persons with mobility impairments. Tenants at the Esther and Sam Schwartz Building enjoy the independence of their own home while also benefiting from the community atmosphere created by the many active gathering places. Whether enjoying a restaurant-style dinner meal in the main dining hall or a casual lunch at the grill in the coffee shop, there is ample opportunity to engage in social activities.
Founded in 1921, the Center is a non-profit, nonsectarian organization licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and serves as a university-affiliated teaching center.
The Center’s mission is to provide quality health care services and housing for seniors in an environment that enhances and respects individualized traditions and lifestyles. It works to meet the emerging needs in the community and to advance geriatric care through research.