President Obama appointed Rabbi Sam Gordon '80 on January 18, 2017 to a five year term on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. His tenure on this council began when he was appointed to an unexpired term in January, 2013 that expired on January 15, 2017.
Rabbi Gordon feels there is something unique about the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, on the Mall. It is a center for research and study as well as a museum and archive. "I am wary of defining the Jewish experience by a single decade of destruction, terror, and genocide. Jewish history is also a history of dynamic thought and creative life," states Rabbi Gordon. He expresses pride that the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum is also a center for confronting genocide in the 21st Century and a place to educate Jews and non-Jews, Americans and people from throughout the world on the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust. "One of our jobs is to prevent future holocausts that might occur in other places and to other people," shared Rabbi Gordon.
Being on the governing council has allowed Rabbi Gordon to work with staff and other board members to help shape the Museum and the continuing narrative that informs us.
"Today we face many of the issues we might have thought we had learned from the Holocaust but, in fact, need to be continually taught," explained Rabbi Gordon. "We see refugees being turned away from our shores. There is genocide and crimes against humanity occurring right now in Syria and elsewhere. As Jews, we are always taught to remember our history, but our experience is not meant to embitter us or to turn us against the outside world. We are taught to remember that we were once slaves in order to inspire us to fight against the oppression and enslavement of others. I hope I am able to bring that voice to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and to Washington."