A mishmash of Chautauquans — some veterans of the Institution, some first-timers; some older, some in college; some Christian, some atheist — sit in a circle in the basement library of the Everett Jewish Life Center.
The Rev. Robert Franklin remembers the exact instant his life veered into spiritual territory.
Steven Windmueller, a specialist on political issues and American-Jewish affairs, will lead programs today and Tuesday this week in the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua.
Michael Berenbaum, a noted scholar of the Holocaust, will address “The Uses and Abuses of the Holocaust in Contemporary Politics” at 3:30 p.m. Monday at the Everett Jewish Life Center. He will also speak on “Controversies Memorializing the Holocaust” at the 12:15 p.m. Brown bag lunch Tuesday at EJLCC.
Berenbaum, a scholar, rabbi and filmmaker, is best known for his work as deputy director of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, project director of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and director of the museum’s Research Institute. He had a major role in the museum’s creation as well as in the development of the permanent collection. He is the author or editor of 18 books, including After Tragedy and Triumph, The World Must Know-Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp and Not Your Father’s Anti-Semites. As filmmaker, he co-produced the Academy Award-winning film One Survivor Remembers: The Gerda Weissmann Story.
The Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua will feature an additional speaker in its Brown Bag series for Week Eight. Judy Schwartz will speak on “Building Minds in Sudan” at 12:15 p.m. today. She will describe her experiences with Building Minds In Sudan, a non-governmental organization dedicated to helping educate children in war-torn South Sudan.
The organization was founded several years ago to help educate the thousands of children who were driven out of Sudan by a bloody civil war that ended in 2005 when South Sudan declared its independence. The organization is based in a suburb of Rochester, N.Y., where some of the refugees settled and where they came in contact with Rochester social-activist Judy Schwartz.
Daniel Kotzin, professor of history at Medaille College in Buffalo, will speak on “Jewish Soldiers during the Civil War” at 12:15 p.m. today for a Brown Bag at the Everett Jewish Life Center. Kotzin also lectured at EJLCC on Monday afternoon.
Kotzin is the author of Judah L. Magnes: An American Jewish Nonconformist, the story of how Magnes, an American Reform Rabbi and the first chancellor of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was able to help shape Jewish public life in the 1930s and 1940s in what was still Palestine. His unique conception of Zionism helped influence both the development of the Hebrew University and Zionist policy toward the Arabs.
“I’m all about my people, I’m all about my people,” Matthew Bar raps, “Ha Shomer Achi Anochi, Ha Shomer Achi Anochi.”
Bar is a rapper and the founder of The Bible Raps Project, a program that aims to innovate Jewish learning through freestyle, hip-hop and rap music.
At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Bible Raps will host an interactive program at the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua. The group will perform and lead a workshop helping others to create their own raps as means of expression and interpretation. It will also lead a Torah study at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Will Recant, director for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s nonsectarian and disaster relief programs, will speak on “The Meaning of the Arab Spring to the Jewish World” 3:30 p.m. today at the Everett Jewish Life Center. Recant will also address “Jewish Communities Around the World: An Update” at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday during the EJLCC Brown Bag.
As the JDC’s Washington representative, Recant was responsible for securing the JDC’s license to work in Cuba. He has visited Cuba over 50 times and has helped establish the JDC’s programs of community development and Jewish renewal there.
Morris J. Vogel, a social historian and president of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City, will speak on “American Identity and Citizenship” at 3:30 p.m. today at the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua.
During a Brown Bag lunch conversation at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Vogel will discuss “Making the Lower East Side Iconic: The Tenement Museum and the Story of American Immigration.”
The path that took Vogel to the Lower East side began on the steppes of Central Asia in Kazakhstan where he was born to war-refugee parents who eventually found their way as immigrants to the United States.
Awards often fall at the end of a path. Whatever it is meant to do, recognizing and rewarding an accomplishment rarely inspires practical continuity of ambition. Awards usually end up gathering dust on a shelf, making résumés one line longer.
Recipients of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature have a slightly different trajectory than the average awardee. In addition to the $100,000 cash prize, Sami Rohr prizewinners are privy to the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, a private biennial conference with some of the most significant figures in Jewish literature. It is held July 22–24 at the Everett Jewish Life Center at Chautauqua.
The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, coordinated and administered by the Jewish Book Council, is awarded to an emerging author based on his or her literature and an interview with a panel of judges. The award “recognizes the unique role of contemporary writers in the transmission and examination of Jewish life today and throughout the ages,” according to the Jewish Book Council website. The annual award alternates between fiction and nonfiction books.