Again this year, the Abq JCC Book Fest & Visiting Author Series is bringing new authors of high quality and importance to the Albuquerque community.
This year (did you remember to write '5780' on your checks?) our Abq JCC will present six excellent authors. You can check the Abq Jewish Event Calendar or the JCC website to see when each will be appearing.
They're all at the top of their game; they're all worthy of your attention. But Abq Jew must (really; he must) call your attention to one author in particular: Ariel Burger, author of Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom.
Surely you recall that Abq Jew offered a Word of Torah from the book in his August blog post Discovering Albany. But there's more - much, much more.
From Ariel Burger's website:
The world remembers Elie Wiesel—Nobel laureate, activist, and author of more than forty books, including Oprah’s Book Club selection Night—as a great humanist. He passed away in July 2016. Ariel Burger first met Elie Wiesel at age fifteen. They studied and taught together. Witness chronicles the intimate conversations between these two men over decades, as Burger sought counsel on matters of intellect, spirituality, and faith, while navigating his own personal journey from boyhood to manhood, from student and assistant to rabbi and, in time, teacher.
In this profoundly hopeful, thought-provoking, and inspiring book, Burger takes us into Elie Wiesel’s classroom, where the art of listening and storytelling conspire to keep memory alive. As Wiesel’s teaching assistant, Burger gives us a front-row seat witnessing these remarkable exchanges in and out of the classroom. The act of listening, of sharing these stories, makes of us, the readers, witnesses.
At the center of the book is Elie Wiesel’s teaching that “listening to a witness makes you a witness”. That is one reason for the title, and it has a specific and universal meaning.
Specifically, this is the response to the difficult question of what will happen when the last Holocaust survivor is gone: who will tell the story?
Although no one who was not there can truly imagine the experience, we can absorb, integrate, and act as witnesses to their stories.
In this way, as long as there are children and students willing to listen with sincerity and attentiveness, the reality of the Holocaust will never be lost.
|Elie Wiesel and (להבחל"ח) Ariel Burger|
In their review of Witness, the Jewish Journal said:
Burger, a compassionate heart, fiery soul, and sharp religious mind in his own right, presents a personal side of Wiesel that we normally didn’t see. This is the humane Wiesel, the Wiesel who nurtured students and who shook the foundations to demand more decency in society….
We all know Wiesel the Activist who spent his life working for people suffering everywhere to protest injustice and oppression and to bear ‘witness,’ but there are other more personal dimensions to this story as well. Now we can see Wiesel the Soul.
May we continue to be inspired by the life and teachings of Elie Wiesel. We owe Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger our gratitude for this special opportunity.To which the Jewish Book Council added:
Burger’s book honors Elie Wiesel’s truth that “listening to a witness makes you a witness,” and when reading these words, you, the reader, will become a witness, too.
|In case you were wondering ....|
Here is a video of Ariel Burger is in conversation with Sarah Hurwitz, head speechwriter for Michelle Obama from 2008 to 2017, who was appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by Barack Obama after he left the White House.
BTW - Sarah Hurwitz also has a new book out ... but she is not coming to our Land of Enchantment for the 2019 Abq JCC Book Fest. Maybe next time.
And in the meantime -