Remembering Raoul Wallenberg
On Sunday, July 31, 2022, the annual commemoration of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, Courage and Compassion: Remembering Raoul Wallenberg, was held at Smith Field Park in Parsippany-Troy Hills at the site of the sculpture dedicated to his heroism. The program, co-sponsored by the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills and Adath Shalom Synagogue, commemorates the humanitarian message of Raoul Wallenberg who became a literal lifeline for up to 100,000 Hungarian Jewish citizens that his efforts saved from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis at the Auschwitz and Treblinka Concentration Camp as World War II was winding down.
It was a beautiful, clear day, and although the temperature was in the mid-80’s, there was an excellent turnout for the occasion. Many members of the Morris County Human Relations Commission (MCHRC) and elected officials from Parsippany-Troy Hills were present. After Meyer Rosenthal, Chair of Adath Shalom Synagogue’s Holocaust Education Committee and Chair Emeritus of the MCHRC, made his welcoming remarks, Chuck Farber, a 98-year-old, World War II veteran and former resident of Parsippany-Troy Hills, was called upon to lead those assembled in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The program that followed included many inspiring speakers. Several represented communities of faith: Rabbi Moshe Rudin, Adath Shalom Synagogue; Rev. Donald A. Bragg, Pastor, Parsippany Presbyterian Church; Dr. M. Ali Chaudry, President, Islamic Society of Basking Ridge; Rabbi Shalom D. Lubin, leader of Chabad of S.E. Morris and Congregation Shaya Ahavat; and Cantor Avima Darnov, Adath Shalom Synagogue.
Other speakers included Representative Mikie Sherrill (District 11); James R. Barberio, Mayor of Parsippany-Troy Hills, who read a Proclamation declaring July 31, 2022, Raoul Wallenberg Day; Dr. Edward M. Adams, creator of the sculpture, Courage and Compassion, who explained the creative process that led to the creation of the sculpture; and Clarence Curry, Jr., Chair of the MCHRC, who spoke about the choices we have in life.
Every speech was meant to motivate the attendees to take positive action in life. We heard the story of Raoul Wallenberg, his courageous acts that enabled him to rescue so many people, and his mysterious disappearance at the age of 32 not long before the war ended. Although there were many rumors and reports of sightings through the years, this mystery remains unsolved to this day.
As part of the closing ceremony eleven people were invited to place a yellow rose at the bottom of the sculpture, each rose representing a decade from Raoul Wallenberg’s birth in 1912 to today as well as one million of the eleven million murdered during the Holocaust. It was a fitting ending to a wonderful program.
Diversity Day 2022
On Sunday, July 10th, the community came together to celebrate the fifth annual Morris County Diversity Day. It was wonderful to celebrate in person after two years (2020 and 2021) of virtual events. Appropriately, this year’s theme was One Community, Together Again. Sponsored by the Diversity Coalition of Morris County, the day began with an interfaith service followed by various musical performances. The main event took place on the Morristown Green, with a wide variety of ethnic foods available across East Park Place on the lawn of the Presbyterian Church in Morristown. There were over twenty-five booths to visit, sponsored by both religious and secular organizations.
The Morris County Human Relations Commission was delighted to participate in this event, bringing people together in these critical times. Our table contained information on the Commission, Fair and Affordable Housing, and Human Trafficking. We also had crafts which many children enjoyed during the course of the event.
Clarence Curry, Jr., Chair of the Commission, noted that our display generated great interest among the attendees. During the afternoon many children “stopped at the table to color and decorate the ‘stick figures’ provided” while parents gathered information available at the table. Curry stated that “Without question our presence was a success on so many levels. Diversity Day was a welcome opportunity for all of us to come together again.” He thanked the members of the Commission who spent the day staffing the table.