On Faith

On Faith: Holocaust victims’ ashes to be interrred in Durham Hebrew Cemetery

May 13, 2014 

  • Correction

    The closing of Duke Chapel for renovations, reported in this column last week, will begin on May 11, 2015, not May 11 of this year.

    The closing of Duke Chapel for renovations, reported in this column last week, will begin on May 11, 2015, not May 11 of this year.

Nearly 70 years after the liberation of the World War II Dachau death camp, ashes of some of its victims will be interred in the Durham Hebrew Cemetery in a service at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 25.

Until now the ashes had been hidden away in a drawer at Joseph Corsbie’s trailer home in Dobson, a small town in Surry County, North Carolina.

Joseph’s father, Walter, told his son about the ashes as he lay dying in 1986, dredging up painful memories of his post-liberation tour of Dachau as a young American soldier. Joseph became the caretaker of the ashes until concerns about his own mortality led him to reveal the existence of the ashes and enlist the help of his cousins.

Mirinda Kossoff of Durham, his cousin, contacted Sharon Halperin, the daughter of Holocaust survivors and co-founder and director of the Holocaust Speakers Bureau. Kossoff met with Halperin. and Halperin’s husband, Dr. Edward C. Halperin, chancellor of New York Medical College, then submitted the ashes to the New York City medical examiner’s office where they were tested and found to be human cremains.

In keeping with Joseph Corsbie’s wishes and with the help of Halperin, Rabbi Jen Feldman of Kehillah Synagogue in Chapel Hill and Rabbi Daniel Greyber of Beth El Synagogue in Durham, the ashes will be buried in the Jewish cemetery.

The Dachau concentration camp was liberated by U.S. Soldiers on April 29, 1945. It was the first concentration camp that American troops had seen. Witnessing the barbarity of the Nazis through the eyes of U.S. soldiers and journalists seared the American conscience.

The public is invited to the service. Those who wish to donate toward a monument and perpetual care of the grave site may send a check made payable to Beth El Synagogue, 1004 Watts St., Durham, NC 27701; in the memo line, write “Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund.”

The Durham Hebrew Cemetery is located across the street from 1105 Morehead Ave.

Prayer vigil tonight

A prayer vigil honoring the life of Carolyn Hemingway is set at 6 p.m. today at 3421 Glasson St.

She was fatally stabbed Feb. 26. She was 62 years old and is remembered for her generous and selfless care for others.

The Rev. Joe Hensley of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will lead the vigil that is sponsored by the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham.

The purpose of the prayer vigil is to honor Ms. Hemingway with prayers, and to offer comfort to her family, friends and neighbors.

All faiths and ages are welcome.

Cultural concert

The Magnolia Klezmer Band and the Triangle Jewish Chorale will join for a performance of music from the worlds of Yiddish, Ladino and Klezmer at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Community Hall of the Levin Jewish Community Center, 1937 W. Cornwallis Road.

The Yiddish songs reflect a cultural connection running from central and Eastern Europe to the New York theater scene. The sound of the Ladino reflects roots in Spain even though the language is widely dispersed around the Mediterranean.

Klezmer is the lively dance music of Eastern Europe originating around the Black Sea qwith tunes from Romania, Moldava, Russia, the Ukraine and then moving around the world.

The music chosen for this event will capture moments of faith, love and loss and add the lively spirit of Klezmer.

The performance is open to all free of charge, but donations will be welcome.

Sacred music

The Engraved Band will perform at 6 p.m. May 18 at Berea Baptist Church, 5011 Fayetteville Road.

This worship band plays original compositions, many popular worship/praise songs and has contemporary arrangement for classic hymns.

The band believes its background enables it to target the worship experience of any kind of event. They have led worship in formal corporate settings, youth lock-ins, block parties, mission event kick-offs and on the mission field.

Engraved is a ministry of people who came together because of their love of sacred music and the Christian message.

This is a free concert that will be followed by a time of fellowship. All are welcome.

Spring concert

The North Carolina Boys Choir and Chamber Choir will present its annual Spring Concert in Duke Chapel at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 19.

The concert will include works by Bach, Handel, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Bernstein, Rutter, Bairstow and others. It will bring to a close the choir’s 43rd season. Directors are Bill Graham and Scott Mann. David Cole is accompanist.

Tickets to the concert $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $8 for students and those under 12 will be available at the door.

The choir will be on a concert tour the last part of June and part of the tour will be participation in American Music Performance Nationals. This event by invitation only will culminate in a prism concert in Carnegie Hall under the direction of Grant Gershon, who is director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and resident conductor of L.A. Opera.

Contact Flo Johnston at flo.johnston314@gmail.com or call 910-316-4135.

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