Toby Kirsch

 

Brief History

Toby Kirsh was born in 1911 in Warsaw, Poland. Not long after she was born, however, her family moved to Belgium. In 1933, German Jews began to flee to the country, following Hitler's rise to power. On May 10th, 1940, the German Army marched into Belgium, and after only seventeen days of fighting, conquered the country. Mrs. Kirsh's husband, David Kirsh, had been forced to give up his schooling after the German invasion, and soon after, he joined a Belgian resistance group (Mouvment National Belge). Mrs. Kirsh and her husband fought and hid from the Nazis until they were able to move - with the support of the resistance group - to the Ardennes region of Belgium in 1941. Here, Mrs. Kirsh took on the responsibility of transporting children out of danger in Brussels to safe shelters and houses elsewhere. During the next four years, Mrs. Kirsh and her husband saw very little of one another. Mr. Kirsh moved constantly, fighting with the resistance, and Mrs. Kirsh spent many of her days transporting children to safety. During her time helping the resistance, Mrs. Kirsh saved about 60 children. After liberation by US troops in 1945, Mrs. Kirsh and her husband moved back to an apartment in Brussels. Mrs. Kirsh gave birth to her first daughter, Estelle, two years later. Not long after, they obtained visas and moved to the United States, where Mrs. Kirsh and her husband had their second daughter, Regina, in 1950.

 

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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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