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This year, the Holocaust Memorial Service was held on Friday 26th as the actual anniversary, 27th, fell on Shabbat.

As readers are probably aware, Norwich’s Holocaust Memorial Service is a civic service, organised by Norfolk CCJ on behalf of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Norwich. As it was last year, the service was held in the Cathedral as the City church of St Peter Mancroft is still undergoing repairs. The CCJ is grateful for a great deal of sensitive and constructive help from the Cathedral’s new Precentor, Rev. Canon Aidan Platten.

[Incidentally, the name ‘precentor’ – which literally means ‘first singer’ – is derived from the Latin ‘cantor’ for song. The role of precentor was carried over from the synagogues into the early Church. Now, the role of the precentor in the Church is to facilitate worship by arranging the services.]

As is customary, the congregation was welcomed by the Dean, Jane Hedges, who was followed by the Lord Mayor, Clark. David Fullman.  His Greeting reminded the congregation of the Holocaust Memorial Trust’s theme for 2018 which was “The Power of Words” – how words can heal and inspire and should never be used to hurt or demean another human being.

We heard some powerful words read by very young voices. The CCJ is anxious that young people join in these commemorations and we are very grateful to Daniel Possener from Norwich School and the NHC, and Miriam Whadcoat and Rebeca Starkie from Norwich High School for Girls who all read beautifully. It was also gratifying to see a group of pupils from the Open Academy in the Cathedral and to know from their Chaplain that they would like to participate in next year’s Holocaust Commemoration.

Our President, Marian Prinsley delivered a moving tribute to the Armed and Uniformed Services, who are always well represented on Holocaust Memorial Day, and the Chair of the NLJC, Annie Henrique lit candles for the victims of the Nazi genocide and those in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.

I know that many of those present had only ever attended Holocaust Memorial Services in Norwich conducted by Alex Bennett and we all knew that his would be a hard act to follow. We were enormously fortunate, therefore, when R. Roderick Young took over his role and worked so well with both the Precentor and R. Leah Jordan of the NLJC to deliver a service which many congregants have told me was moving, inclusive and meaningful.

The CCJ is very grateful to all those who took part in the service and to everyone who attended.

Bee Korn
Norfolk Branch
Council of Christians and Jews