WITH COA Sydney being created by Holocaust survivors, Yom Hashoah is always particularly significant for their current members who were children, teenagers or young adults during World War II.
And as the COA Krygier Centre has an emphasis on both social and cultural connection, it hosts an annual commemoration service to mark the day as part of its Club COA program.
This year, a candle lighting ceremony was held there on the Wednesday prior to Yom Hashoah, and six COA members who are Holocaust survivors lit a memorial candle each, in tribute to loved ones whom they lost during this horrific period in history.
COA is fortunate to have the services of Mordechai Levin to run Club COA as he has a love of people, a passion for social work and a beautiful cantorial singing voice.
Levin introduced the service with a poignant reminder that even though great forces were turned against us, “The Jewish people are still here, not only surviving but thriving”.
“Remembering these atrocities can only make our will to live and succeed stronger,” he said.
Once the memorial candles where lit, he sang a moving rendition of El Malei Rachamim, the prayer for the dead, in memory of the six million who perished in the Shoah.
COA members present at the commemoration were greatly touched by the memorial service.
It led, later that day, to many discussions about loss and trauma, but also of overcoming odds.
Conversations in the main activity room included recollections of arriving in Sydney with nothing, recreating lives full of joy and purpose, and a European existence that was now long gone.
Meanwhile, with the easing of COVID restrictions, the COA Centre is back to hosting regular activities for Jewish senior citizens, including luncheons, games days, musical performances, knitting groups and art classes.
COA Sydney is at 25 Rowe Street, Woollahra near Bondi Junction station. For more information, phone 9389 0035 or visit coasydney.org