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Author Karen Kaplan of Highland Park will discuss “Descendants of Rajgrad: Learning to Forgive.”

Aurora Holocaust Memorial Wednesday, May 4

Temple B’nai Israel, 400 N. Edgelawn Drive in Aurora, will hold a Yom HaShoah– Holocaust memorial–service at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 4.

The public is invited.

The service will open with a welcome by Rabbi Amitar Adler. After a selection by St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church of Aurora choir, a candle lighting ceremony will take place.

Poet Karen Christiansen of Aurora, a member of Aurora Jewish Renewal congregation, will read her poem “A Prayer for the Obvious,” with Rev. John Bell and Emmy Lou John, both of Wesley United Methodist Church in Aurora.

Rev. Gary McCann, pastor of New England Congregational Church in Aurora, will read Psalm 121.

Names of persons who perished in the Holocaust will be read, followed by a memorial prayer.

After a choir selection, author Karen Kaplan will speak. Kaplan, of Highland Park, wrote “Descendants of Rajgrad: Learning to Forgive.”

The service will conclude with a responsive reading and closing remarks by Rabbi Adler.

Kaplan will take questions and sign her book after the service.

About Descendants of Rajgrad

Kaplan tells the story of her father, Arie Kaplan, who after surviving the Holocaust in the forests of Eastern Europe, continued the rest of his life by lying, cheating, abusing his family and never letting go of his rage.

Years later, her father is on his deathbed and Karen is an unhappy single mother who realizes that she is consumed with a similar feeling of rage.

She begins keeping a journal, and in the course of writing about her father, starts to understand that she has inherited his ‘survivor mentality’ and is at risk of losing sight of ever being content.

In sharing her story, Kaplan struggles to do the most challenging thing she’s ever done; forgive her father, and let go of the legacy of bitterness and fear that has hovered over the Jewish community following centuries of anti-Semitism.

About Kaplan
Kaplan was born and raised in West Rogers Park, a Jewish neighborhood on the north side of Chicago.

She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois in Chicago in Nutrition and Medical Dietetics and trained at The Claret Center of Hyde Park as a spiritual director.

Kaplan maintained a private practice and lectured for many years throughout the Chicago metropolitan area on general health, weight loss, and spirituality.

Excerpts of her memoir were published in the Chicago Jewish News, The Patch, an online Chicago and suburban newspaper; and the Landsmen, a publication for Jewish genealogists.

Call (630) 892-2450 for more information.

Freelance Photo-Journalist

Al Benson is an Aurora-based freelance photo-journalist. He is currently an archives research specialist at Aurora University. His work has appeared in The Voice, The Daily Herald, The Beacon-News, and the Chicago Tribune.

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