Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for November 14: City Tech marks 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht

November 14, 2018 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Suzanne Loebl was the guest speaker at this year’s Kristallnacht observance. Photo courtesy of Bess Adler

Recent Acts of Violence Against Jews Underscore Lessons of Kristallnacht

The annual Kristallnacht observance that New York City College of Technology’s Jewish Faculty & Staff Association has sponsored for 30 years focuses on the night of violence against the Jewish communities and businesses across Europe.

The year 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the atrocities and a turning point in the Nazis’ rise to power. Many concerned citizens of Jewish and other faiths today see a new resurgence of neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups.

This year’s City Tech observance, which took place on Nov. 7, paid homage to the 11 people killed at Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 27 and emphasized the urgency of educating the next generations on the Holocaust and the factors that led to the genocide.

Dr. Russell Hotzler, president of the college, provided background on Kristallnacht, also known as “Night of the Broken Glass,” calling it a plundering of synagogues, homes and Jewish homes, with the intention of driving Jews out of Germany.

“The timing of today’s program could not be more pointed, given recent acts of hatred and bigotry…Clearly the worst anti-Semitic act that has ever taken place in this country,”  he said. Extending condolences to the victims and their families, Hotzler said, “We condemn the hatred and the violence which counter the American principles of inclusion and religious freedom as embedded in our Constitution. We stand together in condemning these actions and those who violate those values.

“As an educational institution, we hold an obligation and a responsibility to instill in our students and ourselves, a fundamental understanding of right and wrong, of common respect, of justice,” Hotzler continued, with passion in his voice.

“And one of the ways we do that is ensuring that we learn about and from history; that we protect the validity of that history; that we pass it on, and that we draw strength and wisdom from it to ensure a better world,” he added. “Today’s program—our distinguished speakers, our honorees and presenters—all help to fulfill that responsibility. I sincerely welcome them and look forward to learning from them.”

However, the Kristallnacht observance also paid tribute to the survivors, and to the people who—notwithstanding great risk to themselves—hid and protected Jews.

One of the beneficiaries of this protection, Brooklyn Heights resident Suzanne Loebl, a Belgium Holocaust hidden child, received the City Tech JFSA Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award. Edith Everett, an educator, community leader, philanthropist and humanitarian, received the college’s 2018 Distinguished Humanitarian Award.

As the gathering celebrated those who saved the Jews saved during the Holocaust, another dramatic moment developed during the Nov. 7 program when a quick-acting City Tech student named Raven Hampton came to the rescue of Loebl’s husband when he fell unconscious during the program.

Hampton, who has experience as an EMT, resuscitated Mr. Loebl and administered CPR. Dr. James Goldman, representing the Jewish Faculty & Staff Association, commended Hampton in an email distributed to the college’s president and administration, writing, “You are an exemplar for City Tech students and for all EMS individuals.”

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Organ Scholarship Winners Present Recital at St. Ann’s

Earlier this year, the American Guild of Organists-Brooklyn Chapter awarded three young promising musicians prizes as part of its George R. Mathison Memorial Scholarship Competition. This Sunday, Nov.18, at 5 p.m., the Brooklyn AGO chapter will host the Scholarship Winners’ Organ Recital at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church.

This year’s winners are Austin Philemon, of the Manhattan School of Music; and Evan Wesley Currie and Roshan Chakane, both of Rutgers University.  These brilliant performers are preparing a banquet of organ works which they’ll perform on the church’s landmark 1925 Skinner pipe organ.

The suggested donation for this concert is $20, all of which is applied to the George R. Mathison Memorial Scholarship Competition Fund for future years.

As is always the case, when the term “suggested donation” is used, it is truly just a suggestion; the AGO will gratefully accept donations of any size.

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From the Brooklyn Eagle Archives of 1896

Rev. Dr. Storrs Marked 50th Jubilee As Church of the Pilgrims’ Pastor

The Brooklyn Eagle of Sat., Nov. 14, 1896 carried full page coverage of the anticipated “semi-centennial” of the Rev. Dr. Richard Salter Storrs, pastor of the Church of the Pilgrims.

Storrs had been born in Braintree, Mass.on Aug. 21, 1821. At the time of this golden jubilee, he was in his 76th year.

Situated at the corner of Henry and Remsen streets, Church of the Pilgrims actually pre-dated its sister Congregational community, Plymouth Church, which was established three years later, with the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher as its founding minister.

The Church of the Pilgrims was formally established on Dec. 22, 1844, although a church building had begun construction just five months earlier. That building would finally be dedicated in May, 1846. But Storrs, like his colleague Beecher, would also gain renown, and would actually live to serve Church of the Pilgrim for 50 years.

That Eagle edition, in addition to describing Storrs’ expected historical sermon and the evening musical service, reported, “On Monday evening, the Manhattan Ministerial association will entertain Dr. Storrs, and a loving cup, executed by Tiffany, and commemorating his long years of work in the ministry, will be presented to him by his brethren.”

The full-page spread included a recounting of Storrs’ installation half a century earlier, and his participation in Beecher’s silver jubilee wedding to his own church. It also gave a synopsis of Storrs’ vocation and printed a letter that his fellow clergymen wrote at one point, asking him to remain in Brooklyn.

The article also gave an account from 1845 in which Storrs, preaching his first sermon following his installation, announced the safe arrival of the ship Cornelia, following a stormy and dangerous voyage.

He had his congregation pray for the passengers, in particular for the Rev. Dr. Samuel Hanson Cox, the well-respected pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, just 3 1/2 blocks down Henry St. The two became close friends over the years.

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Brooklyn Churches Collect Gifts for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Brooklyn families are expressing their gratitude by generosity. They are participating in Operation Christmas Child Shoebox, a project of Samaritan’s Purse. The week before Thanksgiving, Nov. 12-19 is their National Collection Week.

Brooklynites are filling shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items to send to needy children around the world. For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.

These shoebox gifts are being collected at drop-off locations serving Brooklyn participants. The Samaritan’s Purse project, partnering with churches worldwide, will deliver these gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. The NY Brooklyn Area Team volunteers hope to collect more than 6,072 gifts during the week.

“We believe these simple gifts have the ability to send a tangible message of hope to children facing difficult circumstances,” said Regional Director Cecil Pollydore. “It is exciting to see the Brooklyn community come together to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with millions of boys and girls around the world.”

Brooklyn residents join forces with more than 150,000 U.S. volunteers including families, churches and other groups to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind. In 2018, Samaritan’s Purse hopes to collect enough Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts to reach 11 million children.

Visit samaritanspurse.org/occ for more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, and appropriate gift items for different age groups (such as stuffed animals, crayons, coloring books, pencils; playing cards, magnets, compasses, puzzles, Etch A Sketch; and care items such as socks, mittens and underwear). Donors may also call 518-437-0690. It is customary to include a handwritten greeting and prayer in the shoebox.

Samaritan’s Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

Around Brooklyn, the following churches are participating as of press time: the Park Slope Christian Tabernacle, 98 Fifth Ave.; the  Bay Ridge Baptist Church, 6701 Fourth Ave.; the Flatlands Reformed Church, 3931 Kings Highway; and the IPJ Cristo Viene, 2102 Mermaid Avenue. Readers can check the aforementioned website for drop-off times.