Update on Recent Developments

Wyman Institute Update: February 29, 2004

    1. Welcome to the newest member of the Wyman Institute’s Arts & Letters Council: Dr. Kathryn Hellerstein is the Ruth Meltzer Senior Lecturer in Yiddish and Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Educated at Wellesley, Brandeis, and Stanford, Hellerstein is known as a poet and a translator, as well as a scholar of Yiddish poetry. Hellerstein’s books include her translation and study of Moyshe-Leyb

      Halpern’s poems, In New York: A Selection, (Jewish Publication Society, 1982), Paper Bridges: Selected Poems of Kadya Molodowsky (Wayne State University Press, 1999), and Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology, of which she is co-editor (W. W. Norton, 2001). She is also a major contributor to American Yiddish Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology (University of California Press, 1986). Her own poems have appeared in Poetry, Tikkun, Bridges, and the anthologies Without a Single Answer (Judah Magnes Museum, 1990), Four Centuries of Jewish Women’s Spirituality (Beacon, 1992), and Reading Ruth (Ballantine, 1994). Her many scholarly articles on Yiddish literature, and most recently, on women poets in Yiddish, are published in journals, anthologies, and encyclopedias. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review and The New York Review of Books.

      Her current projects include Anthology of Women Yiddish Poets and a critical book, A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, supported in 1999-2000 by fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and, in Spring 2003, from the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

    2. Registration is continuing for “Teaching and Learning About America’s Response to the Holocaust,” a one-day conference sponsored by the Wyman Institute on Sunday, May 16, 2004, at the Ramaz Lower School building, 125 East 85 Street, New York City, from 10 am to 5 pm. The sessions will include remarks by Prof. David S. Wyman; a panel on U.S. media coverage of the Nazi genocide; a panel featuring sons and daughters of Americans of all faiths who spoke out for rescue of Jews from the Holocaust; a special workshop for teachers on these topics; and a screening of “They Looked Away,” the new film about the Allies’ refusal to bomb Auschwitz. Nina Solarz, who is chair of the Wyman Institute’s Task Force on Education, will chair the conference. To register, go to www.WymanInstitute.org

      In addition to previously-announced speakers, we are pleased to note that the panel on ‘Americans who spoke out’ will now also include Jeremy Ben-Ami, son of Yitshaq Ben-Ami, one of the leaders of the Bergson group; Prof. David Golinkin, son of 1940s student activist Noah Golinkin; and Phyllis Yampolsky, daughter of Bergson group activist Louis Yampolsky.

    3. The Wyman Institute is collaborating with the American Century Theater in Arlington, Virginia, on the forthcoming production of Ben Hecht’s “A Flag is Born.” the classic 1947 play about Holocaust survivors and the fight for Jewish statehood.The original play, sponsored by the American League for a Free Palestine (the Bergson group) starred Paul Muni, Celia Adler, and a rising young star named Marlon Brando.

      The Wyman Institute is preparing historical material that will be distributed at performances of the play, and Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff recently met with the cast to brief them on the historical context of “A Flag is Born.” The play will run for one month beginning March 25, 2004. For more information, go to: www.americancentury.org

    4. A paperback edition of ‘A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust,’ by David S. Wyman and Rafael Medoff, has just been published by The New Press. To order, call: 800-233-4830.

    5. Wyman Institute Arts & Letters Council member Melvin Jules Bukiet will be one of the writers featured at “Imagining Jews: Contemporary Explorations: A One-Day Symposium on Jewish Writing,” at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, on March 21, 2004. Sessions will include “Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust,” “Multicultural Jews,” and “Rethinking Jewish Identity.” For more information, call 6109-758-3352.

    6. Wyman Institute Academic Council member Prof. Paul Miller (McDaniel College) authored a feature essay about the Allies’ failure to bomb Auschwitz in the February 13 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. The essay was titled: “Counterfactual History: Not ‘What If?’ but ‘Why Not?'”

    7. The Wyman Institute’s protest against Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s comparison of U.S. day care centers to Nazi Germany received prominent mention in the first issue of the e-newsletter Operation Emet-Truth, published by the National Jewish Democratic Council.

    8. The January 2004 issue of Together, published by the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, included a review by Wyman Institute Academic Council member Dr. Alex Grobman of Rafael Medoff’s ‘Militant Zionism in America: The Rise and Impact of the Jabotinsky Movement in the United States, 1926-1948’ (University of Alabama Press).

    9. Wyman Institute Arts & Letters Council member Michael Moorcock is currently compiling, for Constable (London Publishers) ‘Moorcock’s Mammoth Miscellany of Fact and Fiction,’ which will be published later this year and will contain work by Disraeli, Zangwill and Kersh and various articles (from 1855 to the present) on the so-called Jewish Question. The anthology will end with an essay by Alan Wall called “The Weathering of Stones,” about reconciling his Catholic upbringing with his understanding of the Jewish faith.