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Fund-raiser recalls era of the Holocaust

ASBURY PARK PRESS

By ROBIN KEATS
CORRESPONDENT

MANALAPAN – This week marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 attack by Nazis upon the Jews that is widely considered the presage to the Holocàust.

Last night, many of New Jersey’s political, business, religious and civic leaders recalled the era of the Holocaust at a testimonial dinner and tribute to Howard M. Schoor by the Center for Holocaust Studies at Brookdale Community College.

The evening was also a fundraiser for the Holocaust center’s various programs.

Center officials said they expected to raise about $100,000.

The event, held at the Excelsior banquet hail, honored Schoor’s commitment and contributions to the Holocaust center.

“Howard Schoor. is one of the extraordinary, quiet leaders in our Jewish community who has never sought recognition and is a man who lives by his actions,” said David Nussb~um, executive threetor of the Jewish Federation of Greater Monmouth County.

Schoor, a Colts Neck resident, is the founder of the engineering and design firm Schoor DePalma and is founder and principal of SGS Communities, a residential construction company.

He is also the chairman of Community Bank of New Jersey.

“I went to Vad Yashern (the Israeli memorial to the Ho]ocaust) in 1978, to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., shortly after it opened and, recently, to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York,” Schoor said.

“And I came away with the overriding thoughts of ‘How could the Holocaust have happened and where was America while it was taking place?’”

Schoor said he believes these questions should never have to be asked again.

“It doesn’t matter if it is the persecution of blacks or whites or any race or Jews, Christians or Muslims. No ethnic cleansing anywhere! We need to stand up against such things, whether they are in Kosovo or East Timor,” he said.

“It’s essential that we remember the tragedy of the Holocaust, but what is distinctive about the Holocaust center at Brookdale is that it applies the lessons learned from it to America’s past and present,” said state Sen. Joseph M. Kyrifios Jr., R-Monmouth, one of the evening’s featured speakers.

Money raised at last night’s event wifi be used to help send four American teachers each year to Vad Yashem, where they wifi learn to teach about the Holocaust tostudents in the United States.

Funds also will be used to underwrite the Howard Schoor Film Series.

Four films, most likely including “Farewell: The Last Jews of Corfu,” about the decimation of 90 percent of Greece’s Jewish popula-. tion by Nazi Germany, will be presented at the center at Brookdale next year.

It Just Needed Doing

So many times the thousands of owners, who invest money, time and love in our sport year after year, are practically faceless, often too far behind the scenes to be properly recognized.

But as the last Thanksgiving of the 20th century approaches, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to all Standardbred owners by singling out one of them. There are so many unsung heroes in our sport, let this man’s action serve as an example for all of them, realizing that many, many names and stories could be chronicled here.

I don’t know Howard Schoor personally. To the best of my memory, we have only met once. But I have been fascinated by and admired his unselfish action from a distance for a long time. His story may not be new to you since it has been told before, and although it seems so unique, it is most likely “no big deal” to Mr. Schoor; but I think that it is a big deal.

Howard Schoor has been in Harness Racing more than 30 years, watching and hoping as his horses took to the track, year after year. He may have had the thrill of his racing life in 1998 when his Day In A Life captured the Meadowlands Pace. He also owned standout trotter Rule The Wind and watched as that trotter became a sire in New Jersey.

New Jersey was further impacted by Schoor’s vision when the real estate builder/developer created Showplace Farm and clearly affected the way people would race horses and look at farm training for years to come.

In my view, Schoor’s greatest impact, though, comes not on the racetrack. The owner of Colts Gait Farm has been friend and benefactor to Sisters of the Good Shepherd for the last 12 years, and it is through his efforts that the Sisters’ good work continues to touch lives.

As I indicated, the story of Howard’s relationship with the Sisters and their Collier Services has been told before, that he went to their facility to check out a leaking hot water heater and ended up helping them with a fund-raising event for their charities.

The fund-raising event, which by now has multiplied several times over, has brought in tens of thousands of dollars for such causes as Collier High School, Kateri Environmental Center, Sheppard Day Care Center and a group home.

Then there was the story of Colts Gait Kateri, a fairly uneventful trotting filly out of a mare once owned by a priest,
who scented to race beyond her bloodlines and brought thousands of dollars to the Sisters through Schoor’s 10-percent tithing pledge.

Did it matter that Howard Schoor is Jewish. when he and wife Frances impacted so many lives with their generosity and gifts? I hardly think so!

Did he do it because he thought it would bring hint good racing luck? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

I think that he did it simply because he thought it needed doing. It was the decent thing to do; no real lengthy thought process involved here.

I am certain that there are many “Howard Schoors” and similar stories among people in our sport. It is unfortunate that the general media and public doesn’t know about that part of Harness Racing. I guess it isn’t sensational enough to pass muster with the powers that be in TV/radio and the written media.

There is no substitute for helping your fellow man, be it in racing or in life.

Howard Schoor clearly remembers life beyond racing, and he has continued to incorporate a quiet decency into his life. He probably wouldn’t like to hear this. but he is a person to be admired, appreciated and emulated.

As we prepare to sit down with our families this Thanksgiving, or to care for our horses. or to prepare for another day of racing. I’m hoping we may think of people like Howard Schoor and think of ways that we, too, may make our world a better place.

And remember, the greatest gift we have to offer is to offer ourselves.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

‘Til the next time,

Fred J. Noe

USTA Today

Copyright © 2011 Howard Schoor Comanies

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