I. Recent Wyman Institute Activities:
1. The inaugural public event of the Wyman Institute’s Philadelphia Council, under the leadership of our associate director Benyamin Korn, was held on January 25 at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, in Elkins Park, PA. Prof Laurel Leff spoke to a standing-room-only audience, about her book, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important. Mr. Korn served as moderator for a panel discussion after Prof. Leff’s talk, with Bruce Schimmel, founding editor of the Philadelphia City Paper, Jonathan Tobin, executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, and David Lee Preston of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The event was also sponsored by the American Jewish Committee (Philadelphia chapter) and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia.
2. Cutting-edge research was unveiled at the Wyman Institute’s well-attended session, “New Research on America and the Holocaust,” at the recent annual convention of the Association for Jewish Studies, in Washington, DC. Prof. Laurel Leff described how America’s journalism schools and newspaper publishers refused to aid Jewish refugee journalists who were fleeing Hitler. Prof. Stephen Norwood, in his paper, revealed how the leaders of elite American universities not only ignored the plight of Jews under Hitler in the 1930s, but actually engaged in actions that helped enhance the Hitler regime’s image in the West. The panel was chaired by Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff.
3. The Jews of Czestochowa: Coexistence – Holocaust – Memory, a special exhibit sponsored by Wyman Institute board member Sigmund A. Rolat and his cousin Alan Silberstein, will be on display at Seton Hall University’s Walsh Library Gallery, 430 South Orange Ave., South Orange, NJ, from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm daily. (For more information, call 937-275-2033.) It features a selection of materials from a larger exhibit of documents, photographs, and works of art that, together, tell the story of the vibrant Jewish community of the Polish city of Czestochowa, Mr. Rolat’s home town. The Polish Ministry of Culture recently adopted a project based on the exhibit, for inclusion in the curricula of Polish schools. The Seton Hall exhibit is sponsored by The Sister Rose Thering Endowment of the Graduate Department of Jewish Christian Studies. (Sister Rose is also a member of the Wyman Institute’s Advisory Committee.)
II. The Wyman Institute in the News
The Wyman Institute’s session at the Association for Jewish Studies (see above) was featured in a lengthy article in the Washington Jewish Week … Rafael Medoff’s essay, “Oprah and Auschwitz” appeared in the New York Jewish Week and other newspapers; it discussed Oprah Winfrey’s selection of Elie Wiesel’s “Night” for her book club, and that book’s references to the Allies’ failure to bomb Auschwitz … Medoff’s essay on the FBI’s attempts to undermine the Bergson group appeared in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and other newspapers; part of it described how Jack Yampolsky (a member of our They Spoke Out network) and his father, Louis Yampolsky, who was the Bergson group’s accountant, fended off attempts by the IRS to strip the Bergson group of its non-profit tax status in 1945 … Dr. Medoff is now also writing an exclusive regular column, “Learning from the Past,” for the Jewish Star of Long Island. (After their appearance in the Star, installments of the column will be posted at www.WymanInstitute.org) … Audrey Cantor, niece of boxing champion Barney Ross and member of our “They Spoke Out” network, recently authored letters in the New York Jewish Week, Jewish Press, and other news papers about Ross’s involvement with the Bergson group.
III. News About Wyman Institute Council and Committee Members
“Night,” the famous Holocaust memoir by Advisory Committee member Prof. Elie Wiesel, was recently selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club; as a result, it is now the top-selling biography in the United States. Ms. Winfrey also announced that she and Prof. Wiesel, a Nobel laureate, will travel to Poland soon to visit the Auschwitz site.
Advisory Committee member Rep. Gary Ackerman was elected president of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, at a four-day conference in Israel of Jewish lawmakers from around the world. Mr. Ackerman, Democrat of New York, is a twelve-term member of the United States House of Representatives.
Arts & Letters Council member Melvin Bukiet addressed the United Nations at the opening of the “No Child’s Play” exhibit from Yad Vashem.
Academic Council member Prof. Joseph Ansell (Auburn U.) lectured recently on art and politics in the work of Arthur Szyk –the subject of hist most recent book– to the adult education group at Temple Israel, in Columbus, GA.
A new exhibition, “Framed in Words: The Art of Mark Podwal,” will open at the Yeshiva University Museum on Sunday February 12, 2006, from 1:30 to 4:00 pm. Dr. Podwal, a member of our Arts & Letters Council, will speak at the opening at 2:00 pm and will show images from thirty years of drawings for the New York Times op-ed page. The museum is at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16 St., New York City; RSVP by calling 212-294-8330 or writing to info@email@example.com … Dr. Podwal’s latest book, Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses and Crescents (published by Random House), was the subject of a recent feature story in the New York Times.
Arts & Letters Council member Thane Rosenbaum chaired a recent panel discussion with author E. L. Doctorow and playwright Tony Kushner, focusing on the relationship between historical truth and literature, particularly with regard to the Rosenberg case. Sponsored by Fordham Law School (where Prof. Rosenbaum teaches) and held at the Park Cafe in the Time Warner Center before a standing-room-only audience, the event was the subject of a feature story in the New York Times.
The feature article in the latest (Winter 2005-06) edition of Jewish Action magazine (published by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America) is “How to Walk the Business Tightrope: Morality in the Workplace,” by Wyman Institute Advisory Committee (and board of directors) member Benjamin Brafman, one of New York City’s top criminal defense attorneys.
Academic Council Member Zev Garber (Los Angeles Valley College) recently presented the MacArthur Chair in Jewish Studies lecture on “Rethinking the Problem of Edith Stein: Jew and Catholic Saint,” at Bucknell University … He also addressed a section of the annual meeting of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew (NAPH) on “Imagining the Days of the Messiah and the World-to-Come: Gleanings from Sinai and Cyanide” (at the Philadelphia Convention Center).
Academic Council member Prof. Steven Jacobs (University of Alabama) presented the Al and Norma Cooper Lecture on Modern Jewish Politics at San Diego State University, titled “The Longest Hatred and the Biggest Lie” … He also took part in a panel at Wayne State University with James Moore (Valparaiso U. ) and John Pawlikowski on the current state of Jewish-Christian Relations.
Academic Council member Prof. Alan L. Berger (Florida Atlantic University) authored the chapter “Transfusing Memory: Second Generation Postmemory, in Elie Wiesel’s ‘The Forgotten’,” in Obliged by Memory: Literature, Religion, Ethics, A Collection of Essays in Honor of Elie Wiesel’s Seventith Birthday. It was published in January by Syracuse University Press.
Advisory Committee member Dr. Ruth Gruber spoke at the recent Limmud conference at Kutsher’s in the Catskills, leading three workshops, including one on “From Holocaust to Haven.” Her forthcoming book of photographs, tentatively titled Witness and including a section on Holocaust survivors, the S.S. Exodus, and refugee immigration to Mandatory Palestine, will be published by Knopf/Schocken in October.
Academic Council member Prof. Zsuzsanna Ozsvath (University of Texas at Dallas) spoke on “Hungary and the Holocaust” at Memphis University. She will speak in March at the conference on Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature, sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University (Bloomington), on “. . . ‘There Was a Vortex of Voices. . .’: My Search for Home.” Her article, “Trauma and Distortion: The Holocaust Novel and the Ban on Jewish Memory in Hungary,” will appear in The Holocaust in Hungary: Sixty Years Later (ed. Randolph L. Braham, Columbia University Press, 2006), and in a slightly different form in the next issue of Congress Monthly.
Academic Council member Prof. Rochelle L. Millen (Wittenberg U.), together with colleague Tammy M. Proctor, co-edited and wrote the introduction for the most recent issue of the journal Historical Reflections: Reflexions Historiques, Fall, 2005, Vol.31, no.3. This is a special issue of the journal, titled “The Dreyfus Affair in the Twenty-First Century: A Reconsideration.” It includes papers from the spring 2003 conference at Wittenberg University, organized by Millen and Proctor, called “The Dreyfus Affair: Race, Religion, and the Molding of National Identity.”
The Dry Bones Blog, authored by “Dry Bones” cartoonist (and Wyman Institute Arts & Letters Council member) Yaakov Kirschen, is a finalist in four different cateogries in The 2005 Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards. Balloting ends Feb 2, 2006. To vote for Best Jewish Humor Blog, go to: http://info.jpost.com/C005/BlogCentral/JIB.2005/vote2.humor.html …To vote for Best New Blog, go to: http://info.jpost.com/C005/BlogCentral/JIB.2005/vote2.new.html …To vote for Best Politics Blog, go to http://info.jpost.com/C005/BlogCentral/JIB.2005/vote2.politics.html … To vote for Best Overall Blog, go to: http://info.jpost.com/C005/BlogCentral/JIB.2005/vote2.overall.html
IV. Upcoming Events:
February 5: Academic Council member Prof. Laurel Leff (Northeastern U.) will speak about her book, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, at the Bridgeport (CT) Jewish Community Center, at 3:00 pm
February 9: Academic Council member Prof. Harry Reicher (U. of Pennsylvania Law School) will speak on “Nuremberg Laws and Nuremberg Trials” in Miami, under the auspices of the Miami Holocaust Memorial Committee.
February 16: Douglas Century will speak about his new book Barney Ross: Not Without a Fight, about the famed Jewish boxing champion of the 1930s, at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, as part of the NextBook Public Programs series. (The Wyman Institute provided Mr. Century with information about Barney Ross’s involvement with the Bersgon group’s campaigns for Holocaust rescue and Jewish statehood.) Tickets may be purchased at www.NextBook.org or by calling 888-621-2230.
March 1: Dr. Ruth Gruber, member of the Wyman Institute’s Advisory Committee, will speak at 6:00 pm at the Harold Washington Library Center, in Chicago, on “From Holocaust to Haven,” as part of the NextBook Public Programs series. Tickets may be purchased at www.NextBook.org or by calling 888-621-2230.
March 7: Academic Council member Myrna Goldenberg, the Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Holocaust Studies at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, will speak at the City College Center for Worker Education, 99 Hudson St., 6th floor, New York City, at 6:30 pm. Her topic: “Sex and
Survival: Women and the Holocaust.” The lecture is free and open to the public.
March 15: Douglas Century will speak about his new book Barney Ross: Not Without a Fight, about the famed Jewish boxing champion of the 1930s, at the Jewish Community Center of Washington, D.C., as part of the NextBook Public Programs series. (The Wyman Institute provided Mr. Century with information about Barney Ross’s involvement with the Bersgon group’s campaigns for Holocaust rescue and Jewish statehood.) Tickets may be purchased at www.NextBook.org or by calling 888-621-2230.
March 19: Academic Council member Prof. Laurel Leff (Northeastern U.) will speak about her book, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, at Temple Beth Shalom, in Manchester, CT, at 6:00 pm.
April 3: Academic Council member Prof. Laurel Leff (Northeastern U.) will speak about her book, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, at the Worcester (MA) Jewish Book Festival.
April 24: Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff will speak at the Yom HaShoah commemoration of Congregation Kehilat Jeshurun in New York City at 7:30 pm, and show excerpts from the Wyman Institute’s interview with former U.S. Senator George McGovern about his World War II bombing missions near Auschwitz. Kehilat Jeshurun’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Dr. Haskel Lookstein (who is also a member of the Wyman Institute’s Academic Council) will moderate the event.
April 24-26: Academic Council member Prof. Laurel Leff (Northeastern U.) will speak about her book, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, at the Holocaust Memorial Program of Oregon State University.
May 9: Cynthia Ozick, chair of the Wyman Institute’s Arts & Letters Council, will speak at the Jewish Community Council of Washington, D.C., at 7:30 pm, about Heir to the Glimmering World, her acclaimed new novel about a family of German Jewish refugees. Tickets may be purchased at www.NextBook.org or by calling 888-621-2230.
May 16: Academic Council member Prof. Laurel Leff (Northeastern U.) will speak about her book, Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, at Congregation Rodeph Shalom in New York City, at 12:30 pm. Wyman Institute board member Robert Weintraub will moderate the event.
May 23: “An Evening with Cynthia Ozick” will be held at the Harold Washington Library Center, in Chicago, as part of the NextBook Public Programs series. Tickets may be purchased at www.NextBook.org or by calling 888-621-2230.