FREE Memorializes Russian WTC Victims

Thousands of Russian immigrants participated in a memorial gathering marking the 23rd of the Hebrew month Elul, the yarhrzeit of September 11th tragedy at the World Trade Center. The crowd assembled at Brighton Beach Avenue's permanent Menorah display to remember the 16 Russian Jews who were lost in the collapse of the Twin Towers.

The event was actually held a day later because the 23rd of Elul fell on Shabbat. The event provided family members the opportunity to address the crowd.

The most moving remarks came from a mother who explained, that despite the richness of the Russian language, "there is no word in Russian for a mother who loses her son."

In addition, the event included remarks from Rabbi David Hollander of the Hebrew Alliance, community activist Dr. Oleg Gutnik, and Rabbi Moshe Chaim Levin of Chabad of Kensington. The memorial also included greetings from dignitaries, the chanting of Psalms by Cantor Abraham Pressman of Jerusalem, a shofar blast and the release of 1,000 balloons imprinted with the names of the lost loved ones.

The memorial gathering was co-sponsored by FREE and the World Congress of Russian Jewry. The memorial was chaired by Mrs. Susan Lasher whose remarks were translated into Russian by Mr. Isaac Lieberman, Vice President of Hebrew Alliance/FREE. The event culminated with the unveiling of a large memorial plaque at the FREE Synagogue. The plaque is dedicated by Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Lider to the fallen Russian Jews, with all 16 names engraved deeply.

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