Saturday, April 17, 2004

Holocaust events look at prejudice


Faith Matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

Taking lessons from the Holocaust isn't important only for Jews, says Cynthia Booth, one of the honorary co-chairs of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education's Holocaust Awareness Weeks.

"Sometimes we become na‘ve to the fact that prejudice still exists and what prejudice can do," said Booth, who with her husband Paul, a former president of the NAACP's Cincinnati chapter, has been working on civil rights issues for decades.

"This year's events really take on a theme that challenges us as a society," Booth said. "It addresses the realization that highly educated, culturally exposed people still have prejudice. They are sometimes victims of giving in to the prejudice within themselves."

Holocaust Awareness Weeks is an annual project of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education at Hebrew Union College and includes talks and events in Greater Cincinnati. This year's theme, "Facing Prejudice," looks largely at how professionals in Nazi Germany participated in the killing of not only Jews but also the physically disabled and mentally ill, said Racelle Weiman, director of the center.

"People often assume that prejudice is only among the uneducated, the ignorant masses," Weiman said. "But prejudice is in all of us. It's systematic, bureaucratic and done by doctors, nurses, lawyers, architects - all educated people."

The series has already hosted talks on the role of nurses in Nazi Germany's "euthanasia" programs, which killed more than 100,000 physically and mentally disabled, and the way filmmakers under-emphasized the Holocaust.

A lecture today at 7:30 p.m. at Xavier University's Alter Hall, Kelley Auditorium, by Robert Jan van Pelt, a non-Jewish scholar, will discuss how architects, engineers and urban planners created and built the Nazi ghettos, concentration camps and death camps.

On Sunday at 2 p.m., there will be a community-wide observance of Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day in the Jewish faith, at Yavneh Day School, 8401 Montgomery Road, Sycamore Township.

"The Holocaust is a difficult topic for most people, and we want them to talk about it not only as history but about the hard issues within the Holocaust," Weiman said. "The Holocaust isn't something that happened 50 years ago; it can happen again."

The series continues throughout April and art exhibits through July. For a complete schedule, visit www.holocausthumanity.org or call 221-1875, ext. 355.

Women's conference

"True Unity Among Sisters," a conference for all women, will be April 29 through May 1 with both workshop sessions and free general sessions.

The conference, sponsored by Building Virtuous Women of God in Cincinnati and the Toledo-based God's Women in Ministry, will be at Living Word Fellowship, 9781 Fields-Ertel Road, Symmes Township, and will address issues ranging from worship to being a pastor's wife, at sessions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Registration is $70 and due by Monday. For more information, call 774-9678. The free sessions are at 7 p.m. April 29 and 30 and 10 a.m. May 1.

Rabbi to speak on Passion

Rabbi Michael Cook, a New Testament professor at Hebrew Union College, will speak on "After the Passion" at Adath Israel Congregation, 3201 E. Galbraith Road, Amberley Village, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Cook, who drew more than 450 people to a talk before the film's release, was one of seven scholars asked to read the script by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops before its completion.

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To submit religion news, e-mail kvance@fuse.net or send a fax to 755-4150.




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