JBuzz Quotes April 20, 2012: Deborah Lipstadt: New Jersey Holocaust Commemoration Serves as Reminder to ‘Never Forget’

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Holocaust Commemoration Serves as Reminder to ‘Never Forget’

Annual event at Teaneck High School featured author, professor and historian Deborah Lipstadt

Source: Patch.com, 4-20-12

At Thursday’s 32nd Annual Holocaust Commemoration, family, friends and members of the community repeated a promise to the Holocaust survivors in attendance that they would never let the world forget about the murder of 6 million Jews.

The Teaneck Holocaust Commemoration Committee, a division of the Jewish Community Council of Teaneck, hosted the event, which featured a candle-lighting ceremony with survivors, their children and grandchildren, and the reading of the names of those who perished in the Holocaust.

Committee officials describe their event as the largest in Bergen County because it attracts about 1,000 people….

MASTERMIND BEHIND THE DEPORTATIONS

The main speaker for the night was internationally recognized author, professor and historian Deborah Lipstadt, who is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and author of “The Eichmann Trial,” and other books that focus on the topic of Holocaust denial.

Lipstadt said she attends many Holocaust Commemoration events across the U.S. “But I know of no other community that does it as well and has such a response and such a turnout and a cross-community representation as you do here in Teaneck,” she said.

Lipstadt spoke about the captivating trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann, whom she described as the chief operating officer in charge of the deportation of Jews from all of Western Europe.

“And then in the final year of the war when it was clear that the Germans had lost, he personally oversees the decimation, the destruction, the murder of much of Hungarian Jewry, and in approximately 7 to 8 weeks time, the murder of 400,000 Jews at Auschwitz,” Lipstadt explained. “He is in charge of organizing the deportations, getting them out of their homes, moving them into the camps, distributing their possessions; he is the mastermind.”

Sometime after the war, Eichmann eventually ends up in Argentina. He is later found, transported to Israel, charged with “crimes against the Jews and crimes against humanity,” and is found guilty and executed in 1962.

Lipstadt said the most striking thing about the trial was that Holocaust survivors were allowed to be witnesses.

“They told the story of the “Final Solution” in its entirety,” she said. “These people speaking in the first person singular told their story one after another after another.”…READ MORE

Avinoam Patt: University Of Hartford Professor Says Holocaust Museum Shooting Is Evidence Anti-Semitism Still Exists

Source: Hartford Courant, 6-11-09

Avinoam Patt AVINOAM PATT, a University of Hartford professor who worked at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, says he often spoke to security officer Stephen T. Johns, who was shot and killed by a gunman at the Washington, D.C., museum. The shooter has been charged with murder. (MICHAEL MCANDREWS / HARTFORD COURANT / June 11, 2009)

WEST HARTFORD — – The slaying of a guard inside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum by an elderly anti-Semite and Holocaust denier is stark evidence that the hatred that fuels genocide still exists, a University of Hartford professor who worked at the Washington, D.C., museum from 2004 to 2007 said Thursday.

“The museum is very threatening to deniers. It is not just a memorial but a museum that makes a statement to nearly 2 million visitors a year, educating people about the cancer of genocide,” said Avinoam Patt, who teaches American and European Jewish history. Patt said guard Stephen Tyrone Johns was one of many members of the security staff he met while working as a historian and archivist at the museum. Guards were always vigilant, and staff and visitors always screened, he said.

But shooting suspect James W. von Brunn, 88, entered the lobby Wednesday with a rifle in plain sight and began firing, an attack that investigators say was likely the action of a “lone wolf.” Von Brunn, a Holocaust denier who served time in federal prison for a 1981 attempted armed kidnapping at the Federal Reserve, was shot by other guards and is in critical condition in a Washington hospital. He has been charged with murder.

Patt said the museum is a powerful symbol, with its prominent spot on the National Mall and role as a educational defense against those who would deny the Holocaust and embrace race and ethnic hatred. The attack underscores the need for the museum and society never to forget the horror of the Holocaust and the need to fight genocide anywhere in the world, said Patt, the Texas-born son of Israeli parents both of whose relatives were killed by the Nazis during World War II.

In a release Wednesday, leaders of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford extended condolences and prayers to Johns’ family and to those visiting the museum when the shooting occurred. “Today’s horrific shooting is a painful reminder that no place, not even a memorial to the Shoah and a revered educational institution, which fights bias and teaches respect, is a haven from violence and hatred,” Dane Kostin, federation president, and Cathrine Fischer Schwartz, federation executive director, said in a joint statement. Patt learned of the shooting while in his university office Wednesday afternoon. He said he knew Johns as a “big teddy bear of a guy” who took his job seriously. “The guards stopped the attack. Just imagine what could have happened if they hadn’t been vigilant,” Patt said.

Jonathan D. Sarna “Spiritual Journey Leads to a Historic First”

Source: NYT, 6-5-09

Forty-five years ago, Alyssa Stanton was born into an African-American, Pentecostal family in Cleveland. On Saturday, Ms. Stanton is to become a rabbi — the first African-American woman to be ordained as a rabbi by a mainstream Jewish seminary, said Jonathan D. Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

Al Behrman/Associated Press

Alyssa Stanton, once a Pentecostal, plays down her new role as the first African-American woman to be ordained as a rabbi.

Ms. Stanton is scheduled to assume the leadership of an overwhelmingly white synagogue in Greenville, N.C., in August. In interviews, many observers drew parallels between her joining the rabbinate and November’s presidential result. “It is of incredible importance to note that her ordination coincides with the election of Barack Obama,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College, who will ordain Ms. Stanton at the college’s Cincinnati campus on Saturday. “It offers a ray of hope that the world can become a better place.”…

Jonathan Sarna: Jewish agencies forced to downsize

Madoff, economy have big impact

Source: Boston Globe, 5-22-09

Jewish organizations in Boston and beyond are going through a significant downsizing as a result of a combination of the down economy and the Madoff scandal. Combined Jewish Philanthropies, an umbrella organization that helps finance several hundred local Jewish groups, gave preliminary approval yesterday to a 15 percent cut in the amount it will distribute next year. The organization had already cut its budget by 15 percent, laid off about 10 percent of its workforce, and imposed a 7 percent pay cut on senior managers and a one-week furlough for everyone making over $45,000.

The Reform Jewish movement plans to close its regional office in Needham next week. The Bureau of Jewish Education, in Newton, is debating whether to close after Combined Jewish Philanthropies cut 80 percent of its funding. Multiple organizations, from the Anti-Defamation League to Hebrew College to Facing History and Ourselves, have laid off small numbers of workers, and many others have trimmed salaries, benefits, or programs.

“The American Jewish community has probably lost 30 percent of its wealth, and we have no idea how to cut the costs of the Jewish community by 30 percent,” said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

Sarna said that across the nation, there are unusual signs of the impact: In addition to widespread cutbacks, a few Jewish organizations are merging with non-Jewish organizations, and some Jewish community centers are closing.

“It’s a very tough time, and we’re at the stage now where everybody is defending their turf,” he said.

Opinions differ about whether the Jewish community, which has over the last decades established and funded an extraordinarily diverse network of schools, synagogues, and community organizations, is going through a major shakeout or a temporary belt-tightening….