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March 28, 2013 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-03-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

-
is pleased to invite
as we present the

Cantor Maroko's grandchildren Armonite Albalak and Eli Maroko flank their
mother, Ruth Maroko, who was married to the cantor's sole-surviving child,
Simon.

Gift from page 3

Wednesday, June 12 • 7:00 p.m.
Adat Shalom Synagogue
Farmington Hills

RUTH
MESSINGER

President, American
Jewish World Service

Reception following meeting
Kosher dietary laws observed

To learn more about opportunities to pay tribute
to Patti Aaron, please contact the
Jewish Community Relations Council
248-642-5393, ext. 5 or visit detroitjcrc.org

Honorary Co-Chairs

Judy & Mark Kahn

Lisa &Hannan Lis

Rena & Mark Lewis
Andi and Larry Wolfe

Supported by

The Jewish Federation

Media Relations
Israel Advocacy • Community Activism

OF MET91 OLITAN DETROIT

12

March 28 • 2013

JN

The composition was written by
Cantor Israel Eljasz Maroko, the late
father-in-law of Ruth Maroko of Sylvan
Lake and grandfather to Eli Maroko
and Armonite Albalak, both of West
Bloomfield, and Doris Loew of Glencoe,
Ill.
Cantor Maroko had been chief cantor
of the Ashkenazi Great Synagogue of
Amsterdam and was very well known,
often drawing 40,000 people, including
non-Jews and royalty, to hear him sing.
During the Holocaust, he was deport-
ed from the Westerbork transit camp in
Holland on July 20, 1943, to the Sobibor
extermination camp in Poland, where
he was killed three days later. His wife,
Rajsel, and three of their children,
Hersz, Sara-Golda and Miriam, also
were murdered.
Of his many original compositions,
a version of "Chad Gadya" was the only
one to survive World War II. The sheet
music was somehow found by surviving
son, Simon, who returned to his fam-
ily's apartment in Amsterdam after the
war. Every year until his death, Simon
and his family sang his father's "Chad
Gadya" at their seder. In 1956, Simon
submitted his Holocaust testimony to
Yad Vashem.
Last year, when Yad Vashem sought
to gather more Holocaust documents
and artifacts, Ruth, 83, Simon's widow,
decided to donate the original sheet
music. An active member of Hadassah,
she sent the precious material to be
hand-delivered by Detroiters who were
on a Hadassah mission in Israel.
"It's a huge honor to have Obama get
copies of my grandfather's music," said
Armonite. "It's so exciting:'
"I was very surprised:' said Ruth.
"Yad Vashem has a big selection. I'm
not sure what they saw in this particu-
lar work:'
According to Yad Vashem Chairman
Avner Shalev, "This unique manuscript
is the voice of the individual in the
Holocaust, whose essence and spirit

we are trying to rebuild with the help
of names, photographs, documents,
artworks and films that Yad Vashem has
been collecting for the past six decades:'
Ruth and Armonite learned about the
presidential gift March 18 as they wait-
ed for a plane in New York after return-
ing from Israel to see Armonite's son,
Alon, 24, who made aliyah last August
and joined the Israel Defense Forces in
November.
Simon and Ruth met at a kib-
butz in Israel. She was from Latvia;
he from Amsterdam, where he had
begun studies to become a psychia-
trist. Both fought in the 1948 War of
Independence, and Ruth even was hit
by shrapnel. When Simon decided to
continue his studies, he was able to
come to Wayne State for a year with
support from an uncle. He then contin-
ued studies in Israel and in Amsterdam,
where he graduated. The couple moved
to Detroit in 1959.
Cantor Maroko's musical genes have
been passed from generation to genera-
tion. Most notably, Eli's son, Jordan, 26,
won a national musical competition
to be part of a new band that is being
formed. He is writing and performing
country pop music in Los Angeles.
Perhaps for inspiration, Jordan has
framed copies of his great-grandfather's
sheet music and his portrait hanging on
his wall. His father and two aunts have
identical pieces.
"My grandfather wrote his 'Chad
Gadya' in 1941, just before Passover,
during the Occupation in Amsterdam:'
Eli said. "Chad Gadya is a song about
a goat and others being killed by the
Angel of Death. My grandfather was
Orthodox and deeply religious. I think
he was counting on God to save him
from this situation.
"This music was never published or
widely used. Now it's getting exposure.
It would be interesting if it started to
be used 70 years later. It survived to be
used:'



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