Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Summer 2023 @ OASIS Abq

 Great Courses of Jewish Interest

Jewish Star

Abq Jew is pleased to inform you that
OASIS Albuquerque has just announced
their Spring 2023 line-up of classes!
Registration opens on

Wednesday May 3
but you can Wish List your selections now.


OASIS Albuquerque Executive Director Kathleen Raskob and her staff continue (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continue to make sure there are plenty of courses of Jewish interest.

Ducks Lined Up

This fall, OASIS Albuquerque plans to offer many
classes LIVE and many classes via Zoom.

Summer 2023

This session's courses and instructors include,
but are by no means limited to:

Lonely River Village
Memoir Writing
How to Tell Your Story
Friday May 12 @ 12:30 - #155
Instructor: Norma Libman
What It Is: Back by popular demand! Everyone has a story to tell, and now is the time to tell yours. Learn how to retrieve memories you thought were forgotten, how to get them written down, and how to organize them into your own life story. Bring paper and pen for writing exercises and you will have written a start to your memoir when the workshop is over. Limited enrollment.

We'll Always Have Paris:
Celebrating Casablanca at 80

Wednesday May 17 @ 12:30 - #117Z
Instructor: Dan Sherman
What It Is: Although conceived as a standard studio film, Casablanca was quickly recognized as a great romantic film, full of memorable characters and iconic lines, all supported by one of Hollywood’s greatest scores. This class provides the backstory to the film, places it within the studio production system, and describes how it developed from an unfinished script when shooting began into the Best Picture of 1942. The talk also includes clips from the movie, discusses its actors and creators, and highlights reasons for its appeal. 

Jews in the Manhattan Project
Monday May 22 @ 12:30 - #136Z
Instructor: Jack Shlachter
What It Is: Los Alamos officially became a town in 1943 with the creation of the Manhattan Project and the secret science community. A 1945 snapshot of the theoretical division roster at Los Alamos reveals a leadership structure that is disproportionately of Jewish heritage. Of the roughly 80 individuals in the division, four (all Jewish) would go on to become Nobel Laureates. In this talk we meet members of this leadership team as well as some key Jewish scientists outside the theoretical division.

St P
The Catholic Church Inside the Third Reich
Thursday May 25 @ 10:00 - #159
Instructor: Christopher Zugger
What It Is: H-tl-r saw the Church as a major enemy. Within days of signing the concordat with the Vatican in 1933, persecution began. Learn about Catholic laity and clergy who fought Nazism, wavered, fully collaborated, or were martyred. Hear stories of people who helped rescue Jews; parents who fought for their children; brave journalists; and those who suffered in the camps, including 1,000 priests in Dachau. It’s a little-known but fascinating and inspiring story.

Black Death Jews
The Black Death
Friday June 9 @ 10:00 - #137
Instructor: Lizabeth Johnson
What It Is: In 1347, a highly infectious disease reached Europe’s shores. That disease, which became known as the Black Death, spread rapidly from city to city, killing thousands and leaving few areas untouched. Physicians and priests offered little hope against the scourge, leading ordinary people to embrace false remedies and scapegoat vulnerable individuals. This class examines the medieval response to the plague as well as what more recent research has revealed about it.

Civil Society
Jewish Ideas on Creating Civil Society
Thursday June 29 @ 10:00 - #161
Instructor: Paul J Citrin
What It Is: In a time when civil society seems to be unraveling, we use a variety of texts to examine how Jewish culture envisions building a society of respect, commitment, and toleration of disagreement. Material comes from the Bible, Talmud, and modern writing.

Jane Ellen Farewell

Abq Jew and the OASIS Abq community send their best wishes to beloved former OASIS Albuquerque instructor (and award-winning composer and recording artist, and now Floridian) Jane Ellen as she continues to explore strange new worlds and to seek out new life and new civilizations.

Live Long and Prosper

Abq Jew Learn

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Mordechai: After 80 Years

The Beginning of Modern Jewish History: Ten years ago (see From Mordechai to Mordechai), Abq Jew published this blog post in honor and remembrance of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of April 1943. Eighty years ago today.

Warsaw Ghetto 80

Seventy years ago, modern Jewish history began when the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto rose up to combat their tormentors.

 Yes, Abq Jew is aware that this statement oversimplifies and overlooks. The website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tells us:
Between 1941 and 1943, underground resistance movements developed in approximately 100 ghettos in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe (about one-fourth of all ghettos), especially in Poland, Lithuania, Belorussia, and the Ukraine. Their main goals were to organize uprisings, break out of the ghettos, and join partisan units in the fight against the Germans.
Jews fought back, both spiritually and physically. Jews fought back, in camps and in ghettos. Nevertheless:
The Warsaw ghetto uprising in the spring of 1943 was the largest single revolt by Jews. Hundreds of Jews fought the Germans and their auxiliaries in the streets of the ghetto. Thousands of Jews refused to obey German orders to report to an assembly point for deportation. In the end the Nazis burned the ghetto to the ground to force the Jews out. Although they knew defeat was certain, Jews in the ghetto fought desperately and valiantly. 

Since the 12 century, there has been a saying: 

From Moses to Moses, there was none like Moses.

Which is to say: from Moshe Rabbenu until Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon), there was none like Moshe.

Abq Jew would like to propose a new saying:

From Mordechai to Mordechai,
there was none like Mordechai.

Which is to say: from Mordechai the Jew in Shushan the Capital until Mordechai Anielewicz the Jew in Warsaw the Capital, there was none like Mordechai.

Mordechai Anielewicz (1919 – 8 May 1943) was the leader of Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (Jewish Combat Organization), also known as ŻOB, during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. 

Wikipedia further states:
Anielewicz was instrumental in the first act of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, preventing the majority of a second wave of Jews from being deported to extermination camps. This initial incident of armed resistance was a prelude to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising that commenced on 19 April.

Though there were no surviving eyewitnesses, it is assumed that he took his own life on 8 May 1943, along with his girlfriend and many of his staff, in a mass suicide at the surrounded ŻOB command post at 18 Miła Street. His body was never found and it is generally believed that it was carried off to nearby crematoria along with those of all the other Jewish dead; nevertheless, the inscription on the obelisk at the site of the Miła 18 bunker states that he is buried there.
 The Midrash tells us:

Mordechai, in his generation, was equal to Moshe in his.


Just a few kilometers south of Ashkelon (Abq Jew's former home in the Land of Israel), just north of the Gaza Strip, stands Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.

Monument to Mordechai Anielewicz at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, by Nathan Rapoport

Yad Mordechai - named, of course, in honor of Mordechai Anielewicz - is often skipped over on Holy Land tours. In Jerusalem, tourists and worshipers visit Yad VaShem. In the north, they often visit Kibbutz Lochmei HaGetaot (Ghetto Fighters).

But Yad Mordechai holds a special place in Jewish and Israeli history - because of the bravery shown there during a few days in May 1948. Wikipedia tells us:
The Battle of Yad Mordechai was fought between Egypt and Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, at the Israeli kibbutz of Yad Mordechai. The Egyptians attacked the communal village several times throughout May 19 and May 20, but failed to capture it.
A final attack was launched on May 23, in which the Egyptians succeeded in capturing part of Yad Mordechai, following which the Israeli defenders withdrew. Yad Mordechai finally fell to the Egyptians on May 24 after hours of bombardment of the vacated kibbutz.

The kibbutz residents, aided by twenty Haganah fighters, imposed a five-day delay on the Egyptians. This gave Israeli forces time to prepare for the Egyptians' northward advance, and they succeeded in halting the Egyptian advance at Ad Halom less than a week later.

In five years, the Jewish People moved from the Warsaw Ghetto to Yad Mordechai; from the doomed Uprising to the victorious War of Independence. In just five years.

The Forward reports (via Haaretz):
Polish President Bronisław Komorowski [last] week announced his sponsorship of events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Nazis’ destruction of Warsaw’s Great Synagogue.
מי ימלל גבורות ישׂראל

Monday, April 10, 2023

Hiding During the Holocaust

In the Netherlands: Over the past few weeks, Abq Jew has become fixated on the travails of Dutch Jews during World War II. 

Shulamit Reinharz

On Sunday, April 16, Shulamit Reinharz will present her stories of Hiding During the Holocaust (the title of her new book), as part of the Santa Fe Distinguished Lecture Series. Wikipedia tells us -

Shulamit Reinharz (born 1946) was the Jacob Potofsky Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University until 2017. During her tenure at Brandeis, she was director of the women's studies program from 1991 to 2001 and launched The Scholars Program, the first graduate program to focus on Jewish women. She was the founding director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute in 1997 and founder and director of the Women's Studies Research Center in 2001.

And then, her story -

Shulamit Tirzah "Shula"Rothschild was born in 1946 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Rothschild's family were of German-Jewish heritage and as teenagers her parents became involved in the Socialist-Zionist youth movement known as Habonim to learn the agricultural skills which might be needed for life on a kibbutz. 

During World War II both of Rothschild's parents' families were scattered. Her father's sisters were rescued through the Kindertransport program, which sent them to England, and his parents, fled to Malden, Massachusetts.

Her mother's parents were transported from Germany to the Gurs concentration camp near Pau, France. Rothschild's maternal grandfather died from starvation in Gurs before her maternal grandmother was sent to Auschwitz and exterminated. Two maternal aunts managed to escape to Palestine and survived The Holocaust.

After Kristallnacht and [her father's] detention in Buchenwald, Rothschild's parents fled their homeland with the help of Habonim, which secured [his] release. Hoping to pass through Holland and make aliyah to Eretz Yisrael, they were unable to leave the country because of the limits on immigration imposed by the British White Paper of 1939. 

When the Nazis invaded in [May] 1940, the couple were forced into hiding. 

Thirteen months after the war ended, Rothschild was born and when she was one year old, her family migrated to the United States to join her paternal grandparents in Massachusetts. 

Jood Badge

Part of Abq Jew's fixation on the Dutch story is due to his family connection: the stories not told by Abq Jew's mechutan (his son's father-in-law), but told by other members of the family and by straightforward historical sources.

The Diary Keepers

But a major part of Abq Jew's fixation is due to the overwhelming tragedy. As Nina Siegal shared in The Diary Keepers, when she attended an art exhibition in Amsterdam's Jewish Cultural Quarter - 

One fact shared in the exhibition's wall text shook me to my core: of the estimated 140,000 Dutch Jews, only about 35,000 survived World War II. Some 102,000, along with hundreds of Roma and Sinti people, had died in the Holocaust. 

Could that be right? That would mean that about 75 percent of the Dutch Jewish population was murdered in five years. 

In a single generation, the Nazis had managed to wipe out four centuries of Jewish tradition and culture in this city, in this Western European country? No wonder I felt that I was walking around in a void.

She continues:

Although this won't come as news to most Dutch people, I found it surprising at the time because I'd always thought that Eastern European Jews had suffered the worst. The Dutch death toll was, I learned, extraordinarily high by Western European standards.

In France, 25 percent of Jews were killed during the Holocaust; about 40 percent of Jews from Belgium were murdered. The Netherlands holds the dubious distinction of having the lowest survival rate of all the Western European countries.

In Eastern Europe, too, only a few countries fared worse, such as Poland, where 90 percent of the Jewish population, three million people, were wiped out. Hungary lost 60 percent of its Jewish population - and I'd always thought that was one of the hardest-hit countries.

Goodbye Holland

As Abq Jew was searching the Internet for more information about the tragic fate of Holland's Jews during World War II - yes, there's plenty of information out there and yes, it's now a fixation - he came across the documentary film Goodbye HollandWikipedia tells us
Goodbye Holland is a 2004 documentary about the extermination of Dutch Jews during World War II. 
The film debunks the accepted notion that the Dutch were 'good' during the war, exposing how Dutch police and civil servants helped the Nazis implement massive deportations, which resulted in the death of 78 percent of the Jews in the Netherlands.

Goodbye Holland

Shulamit Reinharz

Shulamit Reinharz
Hiding During the Holocaust
Sunday April 16 at 11:00 am MT