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"No Time for Silence" Event Highlights Global Urgency of Fight for Justice and Understanding in Wake of Paris Killings

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Monday, January 12, 2015


“By rescuing my father [Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel] from the fires of Nazi Europe, Hebrew Union College saved his life…and made my life possible.”

 —Dr. Susannah Heschel

“We must work toward the imperative of a mankind that will live by justice and compassion.”  

—Senator Sherrod Brown 



During the recent event, “No Time for Silence: Contemporary Imperatives Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz,” United States Senator Sherrod Brown (left) and Dr. Susannah Heschel (right), Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, led a community-wide dialogue exploring how the lessons of the Holocaust must continue to inspire Americans and people the world over to fight for social justice and human rights in an effort to prevent unchecked recurrences of racism, brutality and inhumanity around the world. 

“This conversation is more critical than ever in the wake of the Paris massacre,” said Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, which co-presented the event with Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in cooperation with the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education. “The event title—‘No Time for Silence’ —is the first imperative that must be embraced. It is hoped that the program will inspire a dialogue that produces real strategies for action that can be shared widely.”

“The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz provides an opportunity for reflection and reminds us that we must extinguish hatred, intolerance, bigotry, and any other form of racism,” said Senator Brown. “The fight for justice also draws upon diverse partnerships – from labor unions, to women’s organizations, to civil rights groups, to organizations like the American Jewish Archives and Hebrew Union College that help to keep the fight alive.  It’s an honor serving alongside these champions as we work toward Rabbi Heschel’s imperative of ‘a mankind that will live by justice and compassion.’ ”

The dialogue was followed by a candle-lighting service and a ceremony commemorating HUC-JIR’s role in saving German scholars from the fires of the Holocaust in 1939, which was attended by members of the families of the rescued scholars.

“I am filled with gratitude for Hebrew Union College, its noble president of the 1930s, the late Julian Morgenstern, its trustees and faculty,” said Dr. Heschel.  “By rescuing my father as from the fires of Nazi Europe, Hebrew Union College saved his life, made my life possible, and brought to America a scholar and theologian who revolutionized how we think about religion, faith, and Judaism. Marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the front row at Selma, Abraham Joshua Heschel demonstrated the same prophetic spirit of conscience and bravery that inspired Dr. Morgenstern to persevere and obtain visas to rescue five European Jewish scholars, each of whom enriched the United States in glorious ways.”

Read more in Chronicle 62 / 2003 >

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.