Wyman Institute News & Events – December 2009


Welcome to the newest member of the Wyman Institute’s Advisory Committee, the Honorable Francis T. Murphy. Justice Murphy has enjoyed a long and remarkable career as one of our most distinguished jurists. A graduate of Fordham University and the New York Law School, he served as a New York City Municipal Court Judge and Civil Court Judge before being appointed to serve on the New York State Supreme Court of Justice in 1962. After a decade there, he became an Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division. He was named Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division in 1977, where he served until his retirement in 1997. Today he is of counsel in the New York office of the law firm of Kelley Drye.

Justice Murphy conceived and organized the Holocaust memorial at the Appellate Division Courthouse in Manhattan, which features a sculpture focusing on the U.S. failure to bomb Auschwitz. He was the keynote speaker, along with former New York City mayor Ed Koch and Academic Council member Rabbi Dr. Haskel Lookstein, at the Wyman Institute’s recent event at the memorial site.



1. On November 20, the 64th anniversary of the opening of the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, the Wyman Institute partnered with Christ Church Cathedral of Cincinnati to mobilize 220 Christian and Jewish clergymembers to sign a petition to President Obama urging the U.S. to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir for his war crimes in Darfur. Other recent petitions organized by the Wyman Institute include a letter by 100 Holocaust and genocide scholars to the government of Uganda, praising it for discouraging Bashir from attending a summit in Uganda (July 2009); a petition by 100 Jewish leaders to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, when he visited the United States, challenging his decision to welcome Bashir to Egypt (August 2009); and a letter to President Obama by 119 rabbis, urging active U.S. intervention in Darfur (October 2009).

2. Research by the Wyman Institute resulted in the recent decision by the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame to honor the Long Island University Basketball Team of 1935-1936 for boycotting the Berlin Olympics as a protest against Nazi persecution of German Jewry.

3. The new documentary “Not Idly By: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust,” written and directed by Arts & Letters Council member Pierre Sauvage, debuted at the International Jewish Film Festival, in Jerusalem in December.

4. “Ahead of Time,” a documentary about the life of Advisory Committee member Dr. Ruth Gruber, was screened in several recently at film festivals in Toronto and Haifa. The film, directed by Bob Richman, will open on January 14 at the Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center.

5. Academic Council member Dr. Mary Todd, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty for Ohio Dominican University, was recently named Founding Dean of the Honors College at Marshall University, in West Virginia.

6. Academic Council member Laurel Leff has been named the Stotsky Professor in Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies at Northeastern University. The professorship supports a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences who pursues research on broad ethical, cultural and social issues arising out of the suffering and heroism of the Holocaust, as well as to encourage new approaches to the problem of social justice and modern Judaism.

7. Arts & Letters Council member Dr. Irvin Ungar spoke on “Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art” on Veterans Day at the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, in Washington, D.C.

8. Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff appears in “Rescue and Neglect,” a new documentary film by the Orthodox educational group Torah Umesorah, which will be shown at 250 Jewish day schools nationwide in late December.




1. Articles by Arts & Letters Council member Thane Rosenbaum (Fordham University School of Law) appeared recently in, among other publications, the Los Angeles Times (a book review of The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, on October 30); the Wall Street Journal (“Evening the Score in Afghanistan,” on October 20); and Forbes.com (“Find Israel Guilty: The U.N’s anti-Semitic M.O.,” on September 25).

2. Academic Council member Mark A. Raider (University of Cincinnati) edited the book Nahum Goldmann: Statesman Without a State (published by the State University of New York Press), which includes his essay “Idealism, Vision and Pragmatism: Stephen S. Wise, Nahum Goldmann and Abba Hillel Silver in the United States.” He also guest edited a special issue of American Jewish History on the theme “Louis Marshall and American Jewish Leadership,” which included his essay “The Aristocrat and the Democrat: Louis Marshall, Stephen S. Wise and the Challenge of American Jewish Leadership.”

3. Academic Council member Prof. Steven Katz (Boston University) recently edited four books: The Shtetl: New Evaluations; The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Though (New York University Press); the Cambridge History of Judaism IV (Winner of the 2007 National Jewish Book Award in the Reference category); and Wrestling With God: Jewish Theological Responses during and after the Holocaust. Prof. Katz also attended the recent Interfaith Conference in Madrid, sponsored by the king of Spain and the king of Saudi Arabia.

4. Academic Council member Prof. Haim Genizi (Bar Ilan University, emer.) authored an essay, “The Attitude of the World Council of Churches to the Israeli-Palestine Conflict,” which will appear soon in Studies in Contemporary Jewry, published by Oxford University Press.

5. Recovering a Voice: West European Jewry after the Holocaust, by Academic Council member Prof. David Weinberg (Wayne State University), has been accepted for publication by the Littman History of Jewish Civilization in Oxford, England. He also authored “Recovering a Voice: Issues in European Jewish Recovery in the Post-War Era,” in Beyond Camps and Forced Labour: Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution, edited by Johannes-Dieter Steinert and Inge Weber-Newth (Osnabrück: Secolo Verlag, 2008), CD 2, #338; and “Patrons or Partners? Relations between the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Dutch Jewish Community in the Immediate Postwar Period,” in The Dutch Intersection: The Jews and the Netherlands in Modern History, ed. Yosef Kaplan (Brill: Leiden, 2008).

6. Foreign Bodies, a novel by Arts & Letters Council chair Cynthia Ozick, is scheduled for publication by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2010.

7. Academic Council member Prof. Stephen H. Norwood (University of Oklahoma), presented an invited lecture on his recently published book The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses(Cambridge University Press, 2009) at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City on October 28, 2009. He published an op-ed article in the New York Daily News, on November 27, 2009, titled: “Shades of 1938: Colleges Quiet A Critic of Islam.” The article drew parallels between Princeton and Columbia Universities’ last-minute cancellation in 2009 of a lecture by Nonie Darwish, a critic of radical Islam, and Queens College’s last-minute suppression in 1938 of a lecture by German-Jewish anti-Nazi exile Ernst Toller. Prof. Norwood will speak at the Plenary Session of the Fortieth Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches, to be held at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, March 6-8, 2010.

8. Academic Council Member Zev Garber (Los Angeles Vally College) convened a session of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew at the Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in New Orleans, Nov. 20-24, and presented theological remarks on the effects and after effects of Hurricane Katrina. At the Association of Jewish Studies annual meeting in Los Angeles, December 20-22, he chaired a session on working with survivor testimony and memoir in writing Holocaust history. Finally, the current Shofar 28.1 (Fall 2009) contains scholars’ tribute to his productive scholarly contributions, mentoring, editing, and lecturing in the field of Judaica in general, and post-Shoah Christian-Jewish dialogue in particular.



The Wyman Institute extends its deepest condolences to the family of Rabbi Levi Horowitz, the Bostoner Rebbe, who passed away in December. The rebbe was one of the 400 rabbis who took part in the 1943 march to the White House organized by the Bergson Group and the Vaad ha-Hatzala. An interview of the rebbe about the march, conducted by Martin Ostrow and Rafael Medoff, was screened at the Wyman Institute’s 2007 national conference.