Chigwell & Hainault Synagogue marked Yom Hashoah with a powerful talk by 2nd and 3rd generation, Angela Cohen MBE and her son Robert Rinder MBE.

On Monday 6th May, to commemorate Yom Hashoah, Chigwell & Hainault Synagogue welcomed over 250 guests. Rabbi Rafi Goodwin opened the ceremony with a message of welcome. This event was organised by myself, Harvey Frankel. I have been organising this event successfully for a number of years, I am very grateful to Mandi Dobias for arranging and inviting Angela Cohen MBE and her son, Broadcaster and Barrister, Rob Rinder MBE, to be the guest speakers.

I am also extremely grateful to other members of our community for their help and input that made this event so successful.
Angela is the founder and Chairman of The ’45 Aid Society and both she and Rob regularly talk about issues relevant to the Holocaust particularly the experiences of Angela’s father and Rob’s grandfather, Holocaust survivor Moishe Malenicky, during and after the Holocaust.

This year commemorates the deportation of 400,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz, where many were murdered on arrival A short film about this was shown, after which I detailed my involvement with Yad Vashem UK and my passion for the Twinning Programme that I promoted first at Chigwell & Hainault and then within other Shuls in the area. My key message was “Children are our future”.

Mandi Dobias then spoke about her involvement with setting up The Holocaust Survivors Group in Redbridge & Essex some 14 years ago, hosting them for monthly tea parties, lunches, Shabbat dinners and outings over the years.

This was followed by Rob Rinder lighting the Memorial Candle, accompanied by Holocaust survivors from the local community. 22 children then entered the hall and lit a candle in memory of their Holocaust twin stating their twins name and the age they were murdered, since this project was launched over 10 years ago over 1000 children have been twinned, since the beginning of this year Yad Vashen UK has received 140 applications to twin from Chigwell & Hainault Synagogue and other local Shuls.

Angela described her work with The ’45 Aid Society, involving bringing together survivors and their 2nd and 3rd generation, in order to celebrate the lives they led after liberation and keep alive the memory of those they lost who died in the Shoah. Angela concluded with a film about a unique weekend in Prague in 2019 when the ’45 Aid Society arranged for a group of survivors and their families to recreate an iconic photo taken of those same survivors as children, just after their liberation in 1945.

Rob Rinder spoke about the strength of character of the survivors and the way in which they rebuilt their lives after experiencing such horrors, never displaying hate or bitterness.

Following closing words from Mandi and Harvey, Rabbi Goodwin led with special prayers for the IDF, for the hostages and for those killed as a result of the atrocities on October 7th 2023. This was followed by the Hatikva.

By Harvey Frankel

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