web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Hadassah Honors Bergson Group

WASHINGTON – The campaign to win public recognition for the Holocaust rescue activists known as the Bergson Group took another step forward recently when Hadassah became the latest major Jewish organization to pay tribute to the 1940′s activists.

The occasion was an event at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, just outside Washington, D.C., cosponsored by Hadassah’s Greater Washington division and the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. The Wyman Institute has been leading the effort to publicize the work of the Bergson Group.

The focus of the Chevy Chase event was the late Mrs. Dorothy Naftalin, who in the 1940′s served as president of Hadassah in Washington and also as a leader of the Bergson Group’s D.C. chapter.

D.C. Hadassah president Arlene Steinberg, programming vice president Saradona Lefkowitz, and Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff presented Mrs. Naftalin’s son, Micah, with a plaque honoring his mother for her “tireless efforts, with both Hadassah and the Bergson Group, on behalf of rescue from the Holocaust and creating a Jewish State.”

Naftalin is director of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews and former director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. In his remarks, he said his mother’s devotion to both Hadassah, an establishment group, and the Bergsonites, who used unorthodox activist tactics, represented a “spirit of pluralism that all Jews should emulate.” He also praised the local Hadassah division for resisting pressure from other Zionist leaders in the 1940′s to repudiate Bergson.
 
 
Hadassah leaders Arlene Steinberg and Saradona Lefkowitz, with Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff, present a plaque to Micah Naftalin (second from left) honoring his mother’s work with the Bergson Group.
 

Recalling his own years of activism on behalf of Soviet Jewry, Naftalin compared the Jewish leadership’s treatment of the Bergson Group to its later treatment of activist groups like the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry and his own Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry.

However, just as the Soviet Jewry activists eventually received community-wide recognition for their accomplishments, the achievements of the Bergson Group too have slowly gained acknowledgment, as the Hadassah-Wyman Institute event demonstrated.

Wyman director Medoff, in his remarks at the Chevy Chase event, described his recent research on Hadassah’s relations with the Bergson Group. He said that documents he has uncovered indicate that Hadassah did not share the mainstream Jewish leadership’s extreme hostility to the Bergsonites. Among other things, he found evidence that one Hadassah leader in Washington gave the Bergson Group logistical advice to help with the group’s 1943 march by four hundred rabbis to the White House. He also found a memo by an American Zionist leader complaining to his colleagues that “women of prominence in Hadassah” were supporting the Bergson Group’s efforts to smuggle Jews from Europe to Palestine during the early months of World War II.

The Hadassah-Wyman event in Chevy Chase comes on the heels of the crowning success of the Wyman Institute’s campaign – the recent decision by the U.S. Holocaust Museum to recognize Bergson in its Permanent Exhibit. Several years ago, Medoff, Naftalin, and other sons and daughters of Bergson Group activists met with Museum leaders to make their case for inclusion of Bergson. More recently, the Wyman Institute organized a petition by Jewish leaders, historians, and other public figures urging the Museum to recognize Bergson.

The Wyman campaign also attracted the sympathetic interest of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Wyman Institute researchers recently found documents showing that Ms. Pelosi’s father, Maryland Congressman Thomas D’Alessandro, Jr., was a Bergson supporter. In a message to a Wyman Institute conference on the Bergson Group last year, Pelosi said she was “thrilled” to learn of her father’s link to Bergson and “deeply proud to know that he was one of those who stood up for what was right, at a time when too many people chose to look the other way.”

Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, the keynote speaker at that Wyman conference, said that while the Bergson Group worked “day and night” to promote rescue of Jews from the Holocaust, “the Jewish community’s leaders didn’t do what they should have.” Wiesel said, “Even now, it makes me despair.”

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Hadassah Honors Bergson Group”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Prosecutor in Ferguson Case: ‘Witnesses Lied Under Oath’
Latest Indepth Stories
The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Greiff-112814-Men

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Front-Page-102414

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/hadassah-honors-bergson-group/2008/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: