Yom HaShoah Commemoration 2023

The Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut would like to thank the more than 170 community members who joined us on Monday, April 17 at the Federation for our first live Yom HaShoah Commemoration in four years. It was a special honor that Rachel Kazimierek and Rita Kramer, two community members who survived the Shoah, were with us as well.


All those in attendance listened with rapt attention to our featured speaker Rabbi Philip Lazowski, whose story of survival began as a young boy who, after becoming separated from his family, found himself in the Nazi selection line.


I encourage you to view the video of our program to learn of the Rabbi’s amazing survival story, the remarkable way he met his wife after coming to the United States and the inspirational and impactful life he has lived ever since.


We are so pleased that clergy from all denominations and representing synagogues and other Jewish institutions from all parts of Western and Northwestern Connecticut participated in the Commemoration. Additionally, survivors, survivor families and community members from across our region joined in an especially moving candle lighting ceremony in which the candle lighters named the survivors as well Shoah victims for whom they were lighting the candles.


It means so much to us that our entire Jewish community came together for such an important purpose. It is, of course, a fitting way to honor those who were lost in the Shoah, as well as those who survived and who continue to be blessings to the Jewish people and to the entire world. In addition, our coming together in this manner is a demonstration of the unity of our Jewish Community and the power we have when we work together collaboratively.


The Federation would like to thank the following people who participated in or otherwise were essential to making Commemoration so meaningful:

Rabbi Philip Lazowski

Rabbi Eric Polokoff

Rabbi Rhonda Nebel

Rabbi Shloimy Lebovics

Cantor Penny Kessler

Kathleen Marks

Linda Goodman

B’nai Israel Southbury Choir

Steven Reps

Debra Garber

Leona Schwartz


Our deep appreciation to the Fay & Max Katz Yom HaShoah Memorial Fund for making our program possible.