Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
I also give this recipe as a sort of virtual Rosh Hashana gift to all of you--Betsy will be blogging on Monday, so this is my last entry of 5768. I wish you all a bright, sweet, and happy new year.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Ancestry.com is looking for vignettes (500 words or less) that describe your experience when you came across that amazing Jewish genealogy discovery or find. They are looking for details such as whom or what information you found; how you made the discovery; and why the discovery was important in your family. Please email your stories no later than Sept. 26th to Sara Black with Ancestry.com.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Lucette will be among the speakers who will appear at this year's annual Rosenblatt Forum on November 16th. The topic of discussion is one clearly very close to her heart "Jews in Arab Lands." Though Jews have lived in Arab lands for over 1,400 years, these communities are disappearing. This fascinating symposium will outline not only the shared history of these diverse cultures, but what can be gleaned from these events to inform us today. Panelists will exmaine Jewish exodus from Arab lands, Jews under Islamic rule, and whether or not these groups can overcome a turbulent past to achieve peaceful coexistence. Other speakers include Dr. Robert Satloff, Andre Aciman, and Resa Aslan.
(Oh, and if you're scratching your head over why someone would wear a leather suit in Egypt, click here to learn more about sharkskin: call me naive, but I did not realize it wasn't a straightforward name until I read the book...)
Friday, September 19, 2008
The festivities begin at 12 noon until 4 p.m. on Vesey Street and include:
-Kids and Teens Areas
-A Green Tent
-Flea Market--Seriously, who doesn't love a flea market?
-Pet Parade--Pets? Parades? I wonder if there will be pet high school marching bands, with little pet sized instruments and uniforms!
-Karaoke, food, contests, prizes (including a Family Membership and gift filled tote bag from the Museum)and more!
Personally, I am most excited about the "Best Cupcake in BPC Bake Off." Though Betsy is the undisputed Museum baker (if we're good, maybe she'll post another recipe...), I make a pretty mean cupcake and plan to be a voracious and highly discerning judge...
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Jews in Vichy France - Professors Michael Marrus and Robert O. Paxton will provide historical context for the time period in which Nemirovsky and other Jews of France lived during World War II on October 26.
Irène Némirovsky and the Jewish Question - Ruth Franklin of The New Republic, Harvard University professor Susan Suleiman, and others will discuss the complex author on December 8 .
The Life of Irène Némirovsky - Biographer Olivier Philipponat will discuss new research about the author's life with Deputy Director Ivy Barsky on Wednesday, November 12 at 12:30 p.m.
The Journal of Hélène Berr - Join us for the New York book launch of this French bestseller on Wednesday, November 19 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
On September 15, 1997, the Museum of Jewish Heritage--A Living Memorial to the Holocaust opened its doors to the public for the first time. September 15 also marks the anniversary of the Nuremberg Laws, which stripped German Jews of their rights beginning 1935. We think it fitting that a Museum celebrating Jewish continuity in the face of epic struggle should open on that day, serving as a proud and defiant response to such unjust legislation.
Originally conceived in 1981 with Mayor Edward I. Koch's Task Force on the Holocaust, the Museum has come a long way indeed. Since opening its doors 11 years ago today, MJH has opened the Robert M. Morgenthau Wing (home to Edmond J. Safra Hall), Andy Goldsworthy's Memorial Garden of Stones, and incorporated JewishGen and the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oswiecim, Poland. The Museum has welcomed over a million visitors, including thousands of students through our educational programs. With the help of our incredible board, staff, volunteers, and courageous survivors and speakers, the Museum of Jewih Heritage has been able to spread its powerful and important message to the world:
There is hope for your future...
Friday, September 12, 2008
This Sunday, from 1-6 p.m., the Museum will have a table at Battery Park's Family Music Festival Harmony on the Hudson in Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park. Some of the witty ladies of the Communications department (including yours truly) will be on hand: we'd love to meet you!
And speaking of witty ladies we'd all love to meet: singer/songwriter/glasses enthusiast Lisa Loeb will be performing! Other artists include... Tom Chapin and Friends, Ebony Hillbillies, Brady Rymer, and Double Dutch Divas.
As usual, the Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.: there's definitely a lot to do downtown this Sunday!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Seven years ago this morning I observed things out of my office window I never imagined a person could witness, let alone witness with intimate friends and colleagues while the world watched it all unfold on TV. Because my own 9/11 experience is inexorably linked with the Museum’s 9/11 experience, I asked to guest blog today.
I am the first to admit that in the days leading up to Sept. 11 I am irascible and irrational. I try not to read articles that are going to make me relive each and every moment of that day. And yet, while I am in my self-care mode, I will still be glued to some new television revelation on the National Geographic Channel or Discovery, watching those same fireballs and gasping as I did viewing them from our 25th floor offices on Lower Broadway.
I anticipate these reactions and I endure them. And though I experience them the same way every year, there is one other constant for me. I cannot imagine being anyplace else on this particular morning other than MJH. My work day begins in the following way. I place kosher comfort food (read Entenmann’s coffee cakes) in the two kitchens for the staff to enjoy when they get to work. I place a yahrzeit candle, an explanation of how and why the Museum remembers, and a photo of the Museum and WTC (the one you see above taken by Peter Goldberg in 2000) on a small table in the lobby of the entrance. I send e-mails to former staff, letting them know I am thinking of them, and wondering what it is like to be in a new office with strangers on the day that made us all blur the lines between professional and personal so many years ago. And I look for Frank Camporeale, our building engineer, to wish him a happy birthday.
The Museum’s 9/11 institutional experience is recorded in the cover story of the Sept/October 2002 issue of Museum News. In it we acknowledge that in the wake of Sept. 11 our roles as chroniclers of the Holocaust and 20th century Jewish experience changed. We were no longer just guardians of history; we were participants in history.
Some staff members gave testimony to the Columbia University September 11 Oral History Archives Project. My interviews were conducted in December 2001 and June 2002. I wondered how I could work at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and not bear witness. How could I work here and not believe in some modicum of hope for the future? Our Museum collection contains the last known physical objects of some Holocaust survivors. For some, it is only their memories we store. To know that this community survived the unimaginable made this experience bearable in some small way, and from them I drew strength.
On September 12, 2001, I called my friend Norbert, one of our dear Gallery Educators. Norbert survived 11 concentration camps, and hugs and kisses you like he hasn’t seen you in years, even if it has just been a few days. I called him that day because I needed clarity, I needed someone in my life to say, “You will get through this and you will come through it the other side.” When I called him, he was working in his garden. He was nurturing the earth and preparing it for a bountiful season. His commitment to the human race is unparalleled. His ability to see the good in people and to take joy in each day that life brings is something I try to emulate, if not in deed, in word.
According to Jewish tradition, the anniversary of a death is a day of reflection to remember what was lost. The observance of this day is called yahrzeit. Today we commemorate the September 11 attacks, which took place on 23 Elul in the Hebrew calendar.
The Museum’s proximity to the site of the tragedy, its identity as a downtown cultural institution, and its mission of remembrance compel us to reflect and remember with the community, our neighbors, and the nation.
As we think about those who lost their lives that day, we say to their families: Zai-kher tzaddik livrakha — may the memory of the righteous be for a blessing.
And may we all go from strength to strength.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Abby Spilka, Director of Communications, will be our guest blogger tomorrow. Abby has been with the Museum for 10 years and will offer her thoughts on this anniversary.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Today, in 1911, the first group of Jewish farmers arrived in Utah as part of the Piute Project, which sought to colonize southern part of the state. Today also marks the death of William the Conqueror who, as we all probably know, was not Jewish. However, under his reign and the reign of his son, groups of Jews not only settled in England but were encouraged by Norman rulers to advance trade and commerce in the country. In 2008, Jewish populations thrive in both locations. On September 9, 1850 California became the 33rd state. That year, there were already "enough Jewish settlers to hold Yom Kippur Services in San Francisco. By the end of the decade there were ten congregations in San Francisco and one in Sacramento. During this time there were two Jewish associate justices of the state court and at least one Jew was serving in the state legislature."
This last particular bit of trivia really drove home what I found so interesting about all these articles: that not only do you find Jewish communities in places you may not expect them but also a determination to continue traditions; succeed within the secular and religious communities; and grow as a people. As the holidays approach, many of our minds turn to time with family and home. For Jews throughout the centuries, home has, successfully, meant many different places indeed.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Maybe it's because a film about Jews in France immediately made me think of our Némirovsky exhibit, or maybe it was the review's promise of flashbacks to the 40s (I cannot resist a good costume drama) but this film looks really fascinating and I thought I would share it with any of you who may not have weekend plans yet. Of course, the Museum has programs of its own in conjunction with Woman of Letters, including a special discussion entitled Jews in Vichy France with world-renown scholars Michael Marrus and Robert O. Paxton. I myself will be very interested to see this film and follow-up with this discussion. We're also planning a French film festival in January (more on that to come).
Thursday, September 4, 2008
On last night's episode, the design challenge was to create a piece inspired by the spy film A Foreign Affair, starring Marlene Dietrich (with whom, coincidentally, I share a birthday). I think this challenge was perfect for von Furstenberg's style: her designs consistantly combine structure and precision with elegance, femininity and truly outstanding materials and patterns (take a peek at her Fall 2008 Look Book, so you can see just how). We won't give anything away, but Betsy's favorite contestant won the challenge with an chic spy ensemble.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Rev. Gaddy: People of faith expect their religious leaders to speak out on the great moral and political issues of our day. If we omit politics from the subjects to which we turn in those moments, people will assume either that politics is not important enough to be included in discussions of matters of faith or, worse still, that religion has nothing to say about politics. Truly great preaching —or any form of religious discourse —can no more ignore the great issues of the day than it can ignore the great texts and truths of the scriptures of the tradition within which it is done. Congregations look to their religious leaders for guidance – spiritual, moral, and otherwise – not manipulation on behalf of political organizations with a partisan agenda. Our nation can benefit from a recovery of a real, vital, and viable partnership between religion, politics, and government in which each treats the other realms with appreciation and respect without seeking to confuse them or join forces with them.
BA: Why is the separation of church and state so important to you, as a religious leader?
Rev. Gaddy:The Interfaith Alliance is made up of Americans from over 75 different faith traditions as well as many who do not have a faith tradition. Though we may appear to be different, we have one very important thing in common – in order for any of us to be free to practice our religious beliefs (or non-beliefs), the government must not enforce one set of religious principles in a diverse nation.
BA: What is the danger of a national religion?
BA: It seems that religion is playing a big part of the presidential campaign. Why do you think that is? Has it changed from previous elections?
Rev. Gaddy: The Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life have published a report that confirms my suspicions about the use of religion on the campaign trail. The study found that we are in the midst of an election for a Pastor-in-Chief rather than a Commander-in-Chief. An analysis of over 13,000 news stories from January 2007 through April 2008 revealed that religion is playing a disproportionate role in this election. Religion accounted for roughly ten percent of all stories that did not focus on political strategy or tactics. By comparison, foreign policy issues garnered 14 percent of these stories, and stories about race and gender only made up 11 percent. The problem is not that religion is being incorporated into the presidential campaign. Rather the problem is that religion is being used as a divisive tool instead of a unifying power. The candidates need be less concerned with appearing "holier than thou" and focus instead on explaining the role their values play in their political worldview. The media needs to stop asking irrelevant (and irreverent) questions about the candidates' religion and start asking the candidates to outline their views on the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. If we can nurture a more positive relationship between religion and politics, a survey result like this one would be encouraging rather than lamentable.
BA: What sort of questions should we be asking office seekers?
Rev. Gaddy: The Interfaith Alliance has published a list of five questions that Americans should be asking all of their political candidates. They are:
1. What role will your faith or values play in creating public policy or making appointments?
2. What are your views on the boundaries between religion and government?
3. What steps will you take to protect the rights of your constituents regardless of faith or belief?
4. How will you speak about your beliefs without making them just another political tool?
5. How will you balance the principles of your faith and your obligation to defend the Constitution, particularly if the two come into conflict?
BA: Do you think there is particular resonance in having this discussion at a Jewish institution devoted to remembering the Holocaust?