Olga Stern

 

Olga Stern was born in Polana, Czechoslovakia in 1929. When the town was annexed by Hungary, Olga's father lost his job, and the family lost their home. After her father's death in 1942, her mother moved to Budapest to find work and later sent for the children. Following the German occupation in 1944, Olga and her mother lived in an apartment building under Swedish protection through the efforts of Raoul Wallenberg. The city was liberated by the Russians in January 1945.

Olga and her sister returned to Czechoslovakia and later were able to come to the United States to study. She remained in New York, married another Hungarian survivor and had two daughters. She tells the remarkable story of her husband Stanley's Holocaust experiences in her interview. After Stanley was deported from Budapest to Buchenwald, he found one part of a tefillin in a bonfire. Then a gypsy came through the barracks offering to sell the second part. Stanley exchanged it for a sweater. Now he had a complete tefillin. He and all the other men in his barracks lined up to take their turn putting on the tefillin to say their morning prayers. 

 

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"My Dear Boy” Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Joanie Holzer Schirm is a retired CEO who, in many ways, represents the new face of retirement. She’s still learning, still growing, still active in her community, and still working. Only these days, Joanie is working on a passion project and winning awards like the Global Ebook Award for Best Biography and Book Trailer (for her first book, Adventurers Against Their Will). At the heart of her book series, including My Dear Boy, which was named a finalist in a Book of the Year contest, is a collection of WWII letters, documents, and objects that serve as witnesses to history. Known as the Holzer Collection for which Joanie serves as an archivist, the secret treasure trove preserved by her father, Dr. Oswald Holzer, tells a refugee story with powerful relevance for today. Classrooms across America and Europe feature lesson plans that accompany her books. Public exhibitions have highlighted Holzer Collection objects in Orlando, Frankfurt, and Prague. “My father gave me a lot throughout my life, but this unexpected gift is the most important—the gift of memory—the gift that became his legacy. His story empowered me to become a driving force for change – changing the world to appreciate the richness we gain from our diversity and to understand the perils of remaining silent when our neighbors are in trouble. From a place of profound sadness to a sanctuary of bright hope, I’ve learned that if we understand the past, it can guide us forward to a better world.” Please register and join us via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZclcOiqqTgrHtGwzTBcsL16gbfGtvhP4LwG

Opening the Qur’an: Exploring Muslim Devotional Life

The first seven lines of the Qur’an, known as al-Fatiha, are possibly the most frequently recited verses of the Qur’an. This talk explores the importance of these lines in the lives of Muslims, incorporating calligraphy, theology, music, and theology. Prophet Muhammad said that all of the knowledge of the Qur’an is found in these verses. The ways in which Muslims have explored the depths of al-Fatiha allows us to have a glimpse at the breadth of Muslim devotional life. 

Hussein Rashid, PhD is a freelance academic, currently affiliated with several universities in New York City. He is a scholar of religion, focusing on Muslims and US popular culture. He is also the founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency. He co-edited a book on Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel called Ms. Marvel’s America. He is currently co-editing a volume on Islam and Popular Culture, and another volume on Islam in North America. He is also co-authoring a cultural history of Muslims in America. His current projects include an independent film, a documentary, and a museum project on religion and jazz. He worked with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan as a content expert on their exhibit “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far.” You can find out more at http://www.husseinrashid.com

Please register and join us via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqceGtrjooEtezb56W-_LCfS1nqqYuSfb6

A Conversation: White Nationalism, Antisemitism, and Racism

A conversation with Claudia Setzer, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies, and Eric Ward, Executive Director of Western States Center about White Nationalism, Antisemitism, and Racism.

Please register for the event and join us via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrc-uqqDkrEtxA4ghg5zx2WqCg3c0RJGik

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