WEST ORANGE, NJ — Thanks to the passion of West Orange resident Dorit Tabak, the Tarbut Sighet Foundation will hold an “All Generation Gathering” to commemorate the 75 years since the Jewish deportation from Maramures-Sighet to Auschwitz. Tarbut is organizing a May trip, sponsored by Tabak, to Romania, specifically the town of Sighet, the hometown of Tabak’s father and esteemed Holocaust memoirist Elie Wiesel. Survivors and their descendants are welcomed and highly encouraged to join this four-day program, from May 16 to 20, which will include local tours, traditional kosher meals on the Sabbath, praying in the one and only synagogue in Sighet with the small local Jewish community, seminars, films, exhibitions, book launches and concerts.
“I am looking for a way to honor and commemorate my grandparents and my uncle who were deported from Maramures-Sighet in 1944,” Tabak said in a press release. “I am looking forward to traveling to the town that my family lived and thrived in for several generations and connecting with others that came from this place.”
Maramures County, prior to the Second World War and the Holocaust, had more than 40,000 Jews, many of whom lived in Sighet, the region’s capita. Today the community numbers a handful of people. The pre-war Jewish community of Sighet led a highly cultural life, contributed to the local commerce, produced exquisite religious works belonging to famous rabbis and had one of the most dynamic social lives both in Sighet and the surrounding villages.
“This event has great significance for the world Jewry as well as for the local community perpetuating the Jewish local heritage for future generations,” Tarbut Sighet Foundation CEO and founder Peninah Zilberman said.
Since 2014, Tarbut has organized similar gatherings, which brought people from all over the world to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. Some found lost family members among the participants while others found solace and closure by going back to their roots.
“I gained a much deeper understanding of my parents and the rich Jewish heritage of this town. I only wish I had taken this trip earlier, with them, while they were still alive,” said one participant from the 2014 gathering.
While this trip is open to all, Tabak and Zilberman are especially looking for Sighet survivors and their descendants. Registration is now open. For forms and details, contact Zilberman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-416-781-0330.