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Upper Nyack Holocaust Memorial Desecrated

by Stephanie Hausner

CSIHolocaustMemDay2015_b4When the staff arrived of Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack arrived at work on Thurs April 16, they had an incredible shock. Our Yom Hashoah Holocaust Memorial Day display had been desecrated.

Each year our synagogue puts up a large banner reading “Holocaust Awareness Day” and places over 1000 flags, each of which represents 10,000 of the Jews, Soviets, Poles, Gypsies, disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals killed in the Holocaust. The Yom Hashoah display had been set up on Tuesday with help from our Hebrew School children.

On Wednesday night CSI members gathered as a community to commemorate Yom Hashoah by lighting memorial candles and holding a special service. “Last night was truly lovely coming together as a community to mark this solemn occasion—to remember all those we lost in the Holocaust,” said Congregation Sons of Israel President Sandy Abrahams. “To hear this morning that our memorial was desecrated and destroyed pains me greatly. To have hate on a day where we say ‘never again’ is chilling.”

Synagogue Leaders believe the sign was destroyed sometime after 10p Wednesday night after the synagogue’s security guard left. A police report has been filed with the Clarkstown Police.

The sign has been fixed, so our intention to remember all those who were murdered by the Nazis will still seen by those driving by on North Broadway.

I join the Upper Nyack community in condemning this outrageous act of vandalism, and I hope local authorities can quickly investigate who is responsible for such despicable behavior. Congregation Sons of Israel President Sandy Abrahams is absolutely right – to have hate on a day devoted to remembering all those who perished in the Holocaust is simply incomprehensible. We as a community must stand together in the face of such intolerance, and be assured that we solidly outnumber those who espouse evil. We must not be deterred or distracted from recommitting ourselves to the meaning of the words -Never Again.’ — Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY-17)


“This is a startling wake up call to our community,” said Rabbi Ariel Russo said. “Hateful speech on the Internet and acts of vandalism in our town are not acceptable. We had a beautiful ceremony on Tuesday, where our children got emotional when discussing the Holocaust. We ended the ceremony with the hopeful words of Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, and now we have to teach them that we are not free from anti-Semitism in our own backyard.”

Congregation Sons of Israel (CSI) is a diverse, egalitarian Conservative Jewish community of 200 families, located in Upper Nyack along the Hudson River. As a “Big Tent” synagogue, it embraces the diversity of American Jewry today in all its forms. CSI’s small size and location foster meaningful connections across members, generations, and the local community.

Stephanie Hausner is a Vice President of the Congregation Sons of Israel in Upper Nyack and a member of Clarkstown Town Board.

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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