Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fall Forward

This blog comes from Gabriel Sanders, our director of public programs, who loves to spoil us.

SPOILER ALERT: The following post will discuss the changing of the seasons and the cooling of temperatures that – historically at least – has accompanied the move from summer to fall.

It’s been a light-hearted season of fun here at the museum, what with six weeks of Mel Brooks , but before long we’re going to be putting our flip flops into storage, doing our back-to-school shopping, and moving from August to august.

That said, we’re not going to throw you straight into the deep-end. We’ll ease into fall gently, with a little food. Our first program of the fall season, on September 9, will be a look at the unique world of Italian-Jewish cuisine with a panel of distinguished chefs and food writers, followed by light reception featuring some kosher Italian delights.

This September we’ll be honoring not just one but two centenarians, one long vanished, one still very much with us. On the 19th, together with UN’s Holocaust Programme, we’ll be paying homage to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who helped save thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, whose centenary is being celebrated across the world this year. On the 30th, we’ll party with photographer Ruth Gruber, who, that very day, will be turning 101.

To help get into the High Holiday spirit, puppet master Jacob Stein will bring his guitar and the Bakery Band Puppets for a celebration of the season of renewal and forgiveness for children 3 through 10 on September 23.

On the 27th, the day after Yom Kippur, we’ll be offering a sneak preview of a new documentary from Israel called Six Million and One, which follows four siblings on a trip to Austria to see firsthand the concentration camps that help their father during the World War II.

In October we’ll play host to two book discussions. On the 3rd, we welcome Andrew Nagorski, author of the Hitlerland, which looks at Hitler’s rise through the eyes of American diplomats and journalists living in Berlin during the 30s. On the 17th, writer Rich Cohen (Tough Jews, Sweet and Low) will be here to discuss his latest: The Fish That Ate the Whale, a biography of banana magnate Sam Zemurray. A larger-than-life figure, Zemurray went from penniless Russian immigrant to captain of industry and key figure in the creation of the State of Israel.

We’ll be saying goodbye to our Filming the Camps exhibition in October, but before we do we’ll mark it and its themes with two programs. On October 10, we’ll be screening The Big Red One, filmmaker Samuel Fuller’s semi-autobiographical portrait of the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division, in which Fuller himself served during World War II. On the 14th, we’ll assemble a panel of photographers and newspaper writers for a discussion of embedded journalists and the risks and ethical dilemmas they face when serving alongside military units during wartime.

On October 21, we return to the Emma Lazarus, the Museum’s guiding spirit for the last year, and to the subject with which her name has become inseparable: immigration. We’ll bring together a panel of historians and policy experts for a discussion of the place of the immigrant in American life both historically and today.

And to close out the season, we’ll dance to hora. In celebration of our new exhibition Hava Nagila: A Song for the People, we’ve invited Ruth Goodman, co-founder of the Israeli Dance Institute, for a dance lesson and a grand ‘ole Hava Nagila Hoedown.

It’s going to be quite a season. Hope to see you here.

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