Update on Recent Developments

Wyman Institute Update: August 19, 2004

  1. Welcome to the newest member of the Wyman Institute’s Advisory Committee:
    Sister Mary Rose Thering, O.P.., Ph.D., is a Dominican nun who has spent her life trying to change the Catholic Church’s attitudes toward Jews.  While studying for her doctorate at the University of St. Louis in the 1940s, Sister Rose researched the church’s traditional attitudes toward Jews and the ways in which those teachings were presented in Catholic religious school textbooks.  Her findings became part of the evidence that led to the 1965 Vatican decree, “Nostra Aetate,” which officially reversed the church’s position blaming Jews for the death of Jesus.

    For many years a professor of Jewish-Christian studies at Seton Hall University as well as a leader of the National Christian Leadership Conference on Israel, Sister Rose played a key role in the passage of a New Jersey law mandating Holocaust education in the state’s public schools.

    A documentary about her life, “Sister Rose’s Passion,” directed by Oren Jacoby, recently won first place in its category at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival awards. She was also the subject of a July 29, 2004 feature story in the New York Times, titled “She Helped Change a Church’s View of Jews.”

  2. The Wyman Institute’s next conference, “America and the Holocaust: New Questions, New Perspectives,” will be held at Boston University, on Sunday, November 14, 2004, from 10 am to 5 pm.  The event will be hosted by Prof. Steven T. Katz, director of the university’s Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies and a member of the Wyman Institute’s Academic Council. More details about the conference will be announced shortly.

  3. Ktav Books has just published Battling for Souls: The Vaad Hatzala Rescue Committee in Post-War Europe, by Wyman Institute Academic Council member Dr. Alex Grobman.  The book presents significant new information about the work of Orthodox rescue activists during and after the Holocaust.

    Dr. Grobman’s other books include Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened, and Why Do They Say It?, and he is the coauthor, along with Rafael Medoff, of the Wyman Institute’s annual year-end report on Holocaust denial around the world.

  4. Dr. Shimon Samuels, director of the European office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a member of the Wyman Institute’s Advisory  Committee, authored “Argentina’s 9/11: Ten Years Later” (on the anniversary of the bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires) in the Jerusalem Post on July 21.

  5. A dinner honoring Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld’s thirty years as founder and director of  the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University was held recently at the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis.  Prof. Rosenfeld, who is a member of the Wyman Institute’s Academic Council and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, was the subject of numerous tributes, including these words from Elie Wiesel:  “As one of the most profound and intellectually honest commentators on the…unique tragedy of our people, your contribution to whatever is true and noble in its literature remains unparalleled. Your moral strength honors those who learn with you and from you.”

    A feature story in the National Jewish Post and Opinion described the Borns Jewish Studies program, under Prof. Rosenfeld’s leadership, as “one of the most vibrant and largest Jewish Studies programs in the country. At last count, 85 Indiana University students were majoring in Jewish studies, more than 100 students were pursuing an area certificate in Jewish studies or a minor in Hebrew or Yiddish, and close to 2,000 students were enrolled in the 50 or so Jewish Studies courses offered this year by 15 faculty members.”

  6. An essay by Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff, concerning FDR’s response to the Holocaust, appeared in the Jewish Journal of South Florida on July 20.  Dr. Medoff’s essay, “The Day the Americans Bombed Auschwitz,” appeared in a number of Jewish publications.  It can be viewed at: