Legacies of the Holocaust
Being the daughter of Holocaust survivors has had a profound influence on my life, even before I knew details of my family's stories. It has shaped my values, educational and career interests, and medical writing.
Legacies of the Holocaust is a wide-ranging blog that will include vignettes and photos of family members not in Resilience; resources for tracing your family's story; news and commentary about the Holocaust, antisemitism, and genocide around the world; reflections on social justice issues; research on recovery after trauma, and strategies to teach tolerance.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the people who need help? We’ve been deluged with one disaster after another—from hurricanes to mass shootings to the crisis of migrants seeking asylum. How can we remain compassionate and helpful? Researchers are discovering clues. Northwestern University’s David DeSteno, a psychology professor, uses the example of the Cajun Navy. These are a group of boaters who survived Hurricane Katrina, and then traveled from Louisiana to rescue others during Hurricane Harvey. They’ve also travelled to North Carolina and Florida to rescue people during floods. What motivated them to risk their lives, going back into a dangerous situation, rather than hiding in their current safe homes? Many people who have survived adversity come to believe they might be able to help others, by similarly helping others. The Northwestern researchers call this having a “sense of efficacy.” Most of us might describe it as “paying it…Read More
This week, two principals made the front page of the news for widely different reasons. Their stories raise thought-provoking questions about how the Holocaust should be taught. The first, shocking story was that of Principal William Latson, head of Spanish River High School in Palm Beach, Florida. In 2018, a mother (who preferred to remain unnamed) wrote asking how the Holocaust was being taught. His response? Lessons were “not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs.” Compounding her shock, Latson continued in an email, “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened…” “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee.” He added that he personally believes in history. After the subsequent outrage, Latson spent several days at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), but he…Read More
There are so many lessons packed into “Faith, Friendship, and Tragedy at Santa Fe High.” Skip Hollandsworth gifts us with this beautiful, thoughtful written eulogy. Friendships like Sabika and Jaelyn’s don’t come along every day. The Muslim teenager from Pakistan and evangelical Christian girl from small town Texas were inseparable. Until a student opened fire at Santa Fe High School a year ago today. By @skiphol: https://t.co/Owq9BHQpBg — Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) May 18, 2019 Faith and Friendship is a heartbreaking read about overcoming religious and ethnic hatreds and the unlikely friendship between two young women. Jaelyn Cogburn is an Evangelical Christian home-schooled in Santa Fe. Her best friend was Sabika Sheikh, a devout Muslim exchange student. There is no small irony that Sabika, wanting to learn about the US in a cross-cultural exchange, left Karachi only to be killed because our country’s love of guns enables murders so readily. What…Read More
Holocaust Remembrance Day, Maus, and Growing Antisemitism
I was outraged by the juxtaposition of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the book Maus being banned, and a special national security training for synagogues. I had, in fact, just submitted a post to Medscape, which will be published on 2/1. Friday’s Shabbat evening service carried this resonant, moving sermon by Rabbi Jack Paskoff. He kindly is allowing me to post it here. So yesterday was kind of a strange day for me. Not for me personally but for me in terms of looking at Jewish life, looking at history, contemplating current events. Earlier, I guess towards the end of last week, I received an email from Congressman Smucker’s office and he wanted to know if I wanted to be able to watch the ceremony from the United Nations yesterday, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Truth be told, I’m a little resentful or more than a little resentful of the United Nations…Read More