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April 30, 2016 / 22 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Anne Frank’

Is Natalie Portman Right and Jews Need to Chillax about the Holocaust?

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

(JNi.media) Israeli born actress Natalie Portman, whose great grandparents were murdered in Auschwitz, told the Independent that she believes Jewish education puts too much emphasis on the Holocaust. “I think a really big question the Jewish community needs to ask itself is how much at the forefront we put Jewish education, which is, of course, an important question to remember and to respect, but not over other things. We need to be reminded that hatred exists at all times and be reminded to be empathetic to other people who have experienced hatred also. Not used in a paranoid way of thinking that we are victims.”

Portman, 34, who starred in all three Star War’s prequels (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith), also portrayed Anne Frank in a 1997 Broadway revival. She recently made her directing debut with an adaption of Israeli novelist Amos Oz’s “Tale of Love and Darkness,” a story based on the life of his parents at the dawn of the Israeli state after the nightmare of the Holocaust. The actress returned to Jerusalem to shoot some scenes of the film. She was born in Jerusalem, but her family left for America when she was three years old.

“Sometimes the Holocaust can be subverted to fear mongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen.’ We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, anti-Semitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I don’t need to make false equivalencies. We need it to serve as something that makes us empathetic to people rather than paranoid.”

Natalie Portman is a Harvard graduate, and, while enrolled at the University, responded to a an essay in the Harvard Crimson critical of Israeli actions against Palestinians. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and worked as a research assistant for Alan Dershowitz, author of “The Case for Israel,” “The Vanishing American Jew,” and “Chutzpah.” Portman also took graduate courses at Hebrew University.

Portman said she started forming these attitudes about Holocaust education when she realized that, when she was attending college, the Rawandan genocide was going on, and not nearly enough was being done about it. In 2007, she traveled to Rwanda to learn more about the genocide there. “I was shocked that the [genocide] was going on while I was in school. We were only learning about the Holocaust, and it was never mentioned what was happening while I was at school. That is exactly the kind of problem with the way it is taught. I think it needs to be taught, and I can’t speak for everyone, because this was my personal education.”

Not surprisingly, Natalie Portman’s remarks drew criticism. Colette Avital, former Labor MK and Chair of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust survivors in Israel, said, “While I agree with Natalie Portman that hatred exists in every part of the world, our area included, her understanding of the Holocaust seems limited. Natalie should understand that the Holocaust that befell us cannot be compared to other tragedies–our empathy notwithstanding. It was not merely hatred, it was a policy whose aim was to systematically wipe out a whole people from the face of the world.”

Aaron Goldstein of “The American Spectator” says the reason Portman’s comments about the Holocaust are so disturbing is not that she is just another pretty actress with an opinion, not that she, as stated by Colette Avital, has “limited” understanding of the Holocaust. But because her great grandparents died in Auschwitz, because she was born in Israel, and if “the Allies had been unable to liberate the concentration camps 70 years ago, and had Hitler and the Nazis triumphed, there would be no Natalie Portman, no Israel and no Jews. If an Israeli-born Jew whose ancestors were killed in Auschwitz doesn’t understand what separates the Holocaust from all other acts of genocide, then we have a big problem,” Goldstein writes. He thinks Portman’s views may be an indication of the feelings of other Israeli-born young Jews who are descended from Holocaust survivors. In addition, she is a public figure with a fan base, and is likely to influence others. Her statements arrive at a time when fewer and fewer people are still alive who witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust, and at this particular time, she questions the role of the Holocaust in Jewish education. Goldstein points out that Portman’s support for President Obama and her criticisms of Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu over remarks he made on the eve of his re-election–which were offensive to Arabs–means that she might have been using her allegation to suggest that the Holocaust is used to promote “fear mongering” and “paranoid thinking” by those who oppose Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. “If she thinks Iran isn’t serious about wiping Israel off the map,” Goldstein writes, then it simply supports the idea that she doesn’t get what separates the Holocaust from all other acts of evil. That is why her comments are so deeply disturbing.”

JNi.Media

Anne Frank and Florida’s Latest Teen Rage

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

First, I would like to thank Matt Drudge for helping promote the “latest teen rage in Florida” news story to thousands more viewers. May you merit to promote much more light and truth in the future in health and happiness.

Responding with Education

As stated by the rabbis in the video clip, the take home lesson from the story is that we need to step up our activities to educate. If the Holocaust was “trivialized,” as one of the rabbis said, then we need redouble our efforts to reveal the light of truth. As a little light dispels a great amount of darkness, so too, while the original story may have made “trivial” something most serious, we should view these events as a call to action to increase acts of goodness.

There are many good responses to dark stories such as these. The first is to hold education workshops and events to educate teenagers (and others) about how real and serious the Holocaust was. Bringing testimonies from survivors, film footage, and other educational material is useful to this approach. But I would like to now suggest a second approach to supplement the first.

Diamonds in the Rough

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of antisemitism in the world. But rarely does an antisemitic social media post “go viral” such as this one. As explained in previous articles, according to Jewish thought, the reason why stories go viral is because of some buried point of truth. It is this spark that first attracted the public to the story to begin with. Like a diamond in the rough, the challenge is to isolate and extract that shimmering spark from amidst the coal.

Our first exercise then is to isolate the “diamond” from the story. Once redeemed and removed from exile among its dark environs, then the “game” will immediately lose its luster and attraction. Like a shadow, once the light is turned on, the darkness disappears.

The light exiled within the “game” is the mention of the Jewish people in general, and in particular, the exalted soul of Anne Frank. In the “game,” it was deemed unfair that Anne’s cup be able to hide away from the pursuers. Therefore, there are two fundamental holy concepts being presented within a dark setting. The first is that Anne Frank was chosen as the representative “hider” of the Jewish people. And the second is that “hiding” was deemed “too powerful.”

Knowing the Facts

Before moving forward with our “second” approach, it is imperative that students first know the actual story of Anne Frank’s life as well as details about the Holocaust. But as Anne Frank’s diary is required reading in many high schools, our suggestion is primarily to provide a supplement to that initial reading and classroom discussion about the Holocaust.

Specifically, our campaign at present is to promote the light that has been unjustly exiled with this “game.” To respond to the recent events by holding events of our own (even assemblies in school auditoriums) to explain in-depth who Anne Frank was, and why “hiding” is indeed such a powerful thing.

An Exalted Soul

What is now presented in brief is explained at length in Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh’s essay “Dear Anne Frank…” Anyone seeking to publicly respond to these events, by promoting the light of truth, is encouraged to carefully read through that essay. But in short, let’s discuss some key points explained there.

The primary contention behind the game is that it has trivialized, even fictionalized, the Holocaust into a mode of entertainment. Since it is specifically Anne Frank that has been fictionalized into the “game,” this then is the first tikkun (spiritual correction) we can make. To quote from the article:

Yonatan Gordon

Anne Frank Tree Sapling to Be Planted In D.C.

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

A sapling taken from the tree that grew outside the attic where teen Holocaust diarist Anne Frank was hidden will be planted at the U.S. Capitol.

The tree will be planted on the west front lawn on April 30.

Saplings taken from the tree have been planted around the world. The tree, at more than 150 years old and weakened by a fungus, collapsed in stormy weather in Amsterdam in 2010.

Anne frequently wrote about the tree in her famous diary, which was discovered and published after the Holocaust. She died at the age of 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

JTA

Tokyo Police Arrest Man in Connection With Anne Frank Vandalism

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Tokyo Metropolitan Police reportedly have arrested a man in connection with the vandalism of hundreds of copies of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in city libraries.

The Tokyo resident, identified as an “unemployed man in his 30s,” made a statement admitting to some involvement in the vandalism of the books in February, according to a website citing the Japanese-language MSN Sankei News.

Police arrested the man on March 7 for entering a bookstore in the Ikebukuro district to hang up a poster without permission. It is not known what the posters said.

Footage from the store’s security cameras reportedly show the same man wandering back and forth inside the same bookstore through sections dealing with the Holocaust in the Ikebukuro district in February, including the day that some of the damage occurred.

Pages were ripped from at least 265 copies of the diary and other related books in public libraries and book stores throughout Tokyo in February.

Police have confiscated the arrested man’s cell phone and computer and have looked at security footage from other locations where vandalism occurred and have spotted the man in the videos, according to Sankei.

About 30,000 Japanese tourists visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam every year, about 5,000 visitors more than the number of visitors from Israel.

Japan is also the only East Asian country with statues and a museum in memory of Anne Frank.

JTA

New Anne Frank Theater to Open in Amsterdam

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

A new theater dedicated to the story of Anne Frank is slated to open in the Dutch capital ahead of the 70th anniversary of the teenage diarist’s deportation and death.

The new theater, which is in the final stages of construction, was first shown to media on Wednesday and will feature a permanent show titled ANNE that was developed at the request of the Basel-based Anne Frank Foundation — a not-for-profit organization founded in 1963 by Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank. The Anne Frank Foundation is the sole owner of copyrights of writings of the Frank family including the hugely famous diary of Anne Frank from her days in hiding in Amsterdam.

The play, which is set to debut in May, will feature a cast of approximately 20 Dutch actors and simultaneous translation to seven languages, according to Ilan Roos of Imagine Nation, the commercial Dutch firm which produced the show and built the new theater.

The new Theater Amsterdam seats 1,100 people in 4,000 square yards of floor space.

Roos declined to disclose how much money the company has invested in the project. Yves Kugelman of the Anne Frank Foundation said royalties from ticket proceeds, which will sell for $50-$100 dollars, will go toward the foundation’s educational work and charity projects for Jewish and non-Jewish causes. The foundation did not participate in production and building costs, he said.

“The play is the first one which is based on all original documents and writings of Anne and Family Frank,” Kugelman told JTA. The foundation developed the script and supervised its historical accuracy, he added.

The new theater is located 1.5 miles northwest of Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House — a separate outfit which runs a museum at the address where the Franks hid until their arrest and deportation to German concentration and death camps in 1944. The Anne Frank House was not involved in the new production.

A special ferry will transport spectators from Amsterdam Central Station to the new theater, producer Kees Abrahams told reporters.

The play, which is being produced by Abrahams and Broadway producer Robin de Levita, is the second theater dramatization of Anne Frank’s diaries that has been performed under supervision of the copyright owners, according to Kugelman.

The first adaptation was written by the American couple Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and opened in 1955, and was later re-adapted into a movie.

“They did a marvelous job but wrote the play in a different time and based on a selection of materials made by Anne Frank’s father,” said Leon de Winter, the Dutch Jewish novelist who wrote the new show’s script with his wife, Jessica Durlacher. “Jessica and I were privileged to gain access to many additional materials, the entire archive, and to broaden the scope to include what happened before and after the deportation.”

JTA

Israel Donates 300 Copies of Anne Frank’s Diary to Tokyo Libraries

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Israel’s embassy in Japan is donating 300 copies of Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl” to Tokyo libraries following a vandalism spree.

More than 300 copies of the diary and other books about Anne Frank have been found damaged in libraries throughout the country’s capital. Police have established a task force to investigate the vandalism.

The new books were to be presented on Thursday.

Anne Frank’s diary was written during World War II, while the teenager hid from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam before she was betrayed and transferred to a concentration camp, where she died. The book made her a symbol of the suffering of Jews during the war.

The embassy said in a statement that it hopes the donation will “make up for the copies damaged.”

“Her diary is useful to deepen understanding of humanitarian views concerning the Holocaust and related incidents,” the statement said, according to the French news service AFP. “We believe that the people who took this hideous action will be brought to justice.”

Meanwhile, two boxes of Anne Frank’s diary and books about the young diarist arrived Monday at the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library Monday, sent by an anonymous donor using the name “Chiune Sugihara.” Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat who helped thousands of Jews to escape the Nazis.

JTA

Anne Frank’s Marbles Found

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The Anne Frank House Museum has announced that toys Anne Frank gave away before she and her family went into hiding were recovered, and her tin of marbles is going on display this week, at the Kunsthal art gallery in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Fox News reported.

On July 6, 1942, about two years after the beginning of the Nazi occupation, the Frank family went into hiding in a concealed apartment above a warehouse.

Their neighbor, Anne’s non-Jewish girlfriend Toosje Kupers, now 83, who lived in the building next door, kept the marbles, a tea set and a book. But last year, when she was moving, it occurred to her to turn them over to the museum.

She told the Dutch national broadcaster NOS that shortly before the Frank family left the Merwedeplein neighborhood, Anne approached her for a favor.

“‘I’m worried about my marbles, because I’m scared they might fall into the wrong hands,'” Kupers said Anne told her. “‘Could you keep them for me for a little while?'”

In August 1944, the Frank family was betrayed, arrested and deported.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/anne-franks-marbles-found/2014/02/06/

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