Posts Tagged ‘Kristallnacht’

How the Holocaust Changed Interfaith History

November 1, 2011
If the title of this post interests you, you won’t want to miss this year’s Kristallnacht Commemoration Speaker.  

Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, marks the beginning of the Nazi Holocaust against the European Jews. For two days and nights, Nov. 9 and 10, the Nazis carried out pogroms, or riots, against the Jews.

This year, the Columbus Jewish Federation, the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and Ohio Wesleyan University will commemorate Kristallnacht by welcoming a scholar-in-residence from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Victoria Barnett, staff director of the national museum’s Committee on Church Relations and the Holocaust, will discuss “How the Holocaust Changed Interfaith History” at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 in Room 312 of the R.W. Corns Building.

Barnett, a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York, is a scholar of the Holocaust and of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran theologian known for his resistance to the Nazis.

Dedicated in 1993, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum seeks to inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Since the museum opened, it has welcomed more than 30 million visitors and 91 heads of state. Learn more at


Re-Visioning the Holocaust

November 10, 2009

My cousin sent this video to me a few weeks ago.  It seems appropriate to share tonight, “PogromNacht” – The Night of State-Sponsored, Nationwide Attacks on German Jews – November 11, 1938.  (As Dr. Michael Flamm taught us tonight, the term Kristalnacht, The Night of Broken Glass, is not used in Germany because it is not adequate for describing the wide-ranging attacks carried out by the Nazis and their sympathizers against the Jewish people that night.  Also, the Germans supposedly interpreted the term Kristallnacht to meet their own purposes.  For them, kristal, made reference to the belief that Germany would be cleaner, prettier, and more sparkly, without the Jews around.)


Subj: Holocaust to Modern Music


One of the most challenging questions facing the younger Jewish generation is how to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. Not too far in the future, there will no longer be “Holocaust Survivors” alive on earth to tell their stories. It will be left to the next generation to tell the story in their own manner.

Many young Israelis have been experimenting with new, alternative Holocaust memorial services, which to the older generation seem highly non-traditional, and even at times offensive, yet they nevertheless are sincere attempts to keep the memory of the Holocaustalive, and make its message relevant to the younger generation.

This year, Grammy award winning Israeli violinist Miri Ben-Ari and Israeli rap/hip-hop star Kobi “Subliminal” Shimoni have co-produced a hip-hop music video expressing their sentiments on the Shoah. It is called “God Almighty When Will it End.” This is link to the video. Before you click and watch, just a few words. Prepare yourselves to see something that is quite non-traditional and that expresses the  Shoah in ways that we have never seen before. I am sure that some of you, at first sight and sound, may even find it disturbing.

You should know, however, that in Israel, this CD/Video was distributed by the thousands to students in schools, by recommendation, approval and blessing of — amongst others Professor Yehuda Bauer ( Israel ‘s leading historian on the Holocaust) and Rabbi Benny Lau (son of Holocaust survivor and former Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau).As highly traditional people, they both praised this genuine effort make the message of the Holocaust relevant to a disconnected younger generation. In one way or the other, may the memory of the Six Million always remain alive in our hearts and souls,


Rabbi Daniel Bouskil  Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel



Who is a Jew? Who Decides?

November 8, 2009

With Kristallnacht less than 24 hours away, an article in today’s NYTimes about the admissions policy of a publicly-funded Jewish Day School in London seems timely.  Growing up, I was taught that the Nazis didn’t care how observant a Jew you were, they didn’t care if you ate pork and took communion at catholic Mass on Sundays.  If your mother was Jewish, you were Jewish.  If the Nazis came around again, I was warned, they wouldn’t care if you believed in god, went to temple on Shabbat, or ate cheeseburgers at McDonald’s.  If your mother was Jewish, you were Jewish.

The comedian David Cross tells a story that supports this idea.  Cross was born to Jewish parents but considers himself an atheist.   During a discussion about his identity, he once told a Rabbi that he doesn’t belive in god so he can’t possibly be Jewish.  After a bit of back and forth,the Rabbi asked, “Let me ask you this: Was your mother’s vagina Jewish?”  Cross’s telling of this story (which I can’t quite bring myself to link to here, but highly recommend for a thought-provoking listen and laugh), and his commentary on it, “Oh f#@*!  They got me on a technicality.  No matter what I believe in, it doesn’t matter.  Jew for life.  That’s it.  Judaism is the only religion in the world that won’t allow you to not be Jewish,” reflects the discomfort and questions that surround the matrilineal labeling tradition.

The lawsuit covered in “Who is a Jew?  Court Ruling In Britain Raises Question,” challenges the tradition of matrilineal descent as the sole signifier of Jewish identity.  (It should be noted that strict adherence to this categorization is mainly the business of Orthodox and Conservative Jews.  Reform, Reconstructionist, and Humanist Jewish communities have made space for other interpretations of the law found in Deuteronomy.)  The families who seek access to the school argue that it shouldn’t matter if a child’s mother is Jewish, if she was born a Jew or converted, and whether she converted in an Orthodox or Reform synagogue.  The child’s belief and observance should be all that matter.  Being Jewish, in other words, is a state of mind and practice, not of biology.  What do you think?