Photo Credits: Photo Gallery
Photo Credits: Photo Gallery
A bipartisan delegation of U.S. mayors is visiting Israel with AJC (American Jewish Committee) Project Interchange for intensive dialogue and briefings. The week-long educational seminar marks the first delegation under the auspices of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and AJC, the highlight of which is an annual mayors’ delegation to Israel.
Organized by AJC Project Interchange, the seminar is designed to further enhance U.S.-Israel relations at the important municipal level. This delegation is chaired by Los Angeles, California Mayor Eric Garcetti. AJC CEO David Harris joined the Mayors’ Delegation for their opening dinner.
The seminar is intended to provide these policymakers with a first-hand understanding of Israel, dubbed the “Innovation Nation” for its economic and social entrepreneurship. The mayors will learn about Israel’s vibrant democracy, diverse society, and regional challenges. They will meet with influential figures across the political and social spectrum, including Israel President Reuven Rivlin, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, high-ranking government officials, leaders of Israel’s minority communities, and Jewish and Arab civil society leaders.
Importantly, the mayors will meet with their Israeli counterparts to discuss best practices for their home communities on smart city development, economic growth technology start-ups, urban revitalization, and city administration. The delegation also will observe how Israel balances the preservation of its heritage with modern municipal management and the provision of social services.
“Los Angeles and Israel share so much – vibrant cultures, beautiful landscapes, diverse communities, ties of family and friends, our experiences as dreamers, and our common belief in democracy,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Our delegation is showing how cities lead on the world stage, how mayors get things done, and how urban centers can tackle everything from innovation and climate change to immigration and economic growth.”
“AJC has worked closely with mayors and municipal leaders for decades on issues of mutual concern,” said Melanie Maron Pell, AJC Managing Director of Regional Offices, who is accompanying the delegation. “The mayors will learn a great deal about hi-tech and economic development, immigration absorption, diversity, and emergency services that will assist them in their governance of their respective cities.”
In addition to visiting significant historical and cultural sites, the delegation will visit Tel Aviv; Haifa; Israel’s borders, including the Lebanese border; and Jerusalem, including the Old City. The delegation also will meet with Palestinian civic and business leaders in the Palestinian Authority, located in the West Bank. Several sessions dealing with Israel’s strategic environment, diversity and coexistence, and interreligious cooperation are on the agenda as well.
In 2017 and 2018, bipartisan delegations of U.S. mayors, also organized by AJC Project Interchange, visited Israel. The new MoU, signed in January, formalizes and expands this cooperation.
AJC Project Interchange: For over 35 years, AJC Project Interchange (American Jewish Committee) has brought 6,000 influential figures to Israel from 110+ countries and all 50 U.S. states, offering broad exposure and first-hand understanding of the complex issues facing Israel and the region. AJC Project Interchange has led numerous delegations of mayors to Israel from the U.S. and Europe. www.projectinterchange.org.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee
Photo Credits: Photo Gallery
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust today opened the most comprehensive Holocaust exhibition about Auschwitz ever exhibited in North America. Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is produced in partnership with the international exhibition firm Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. The groundbreaking exhibition has been curated by an international team of experts led by historian Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt. It runs through January 3, 2020 in New York City.
For the first time, 74 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, a traveling exhibition dedicated to the historical significance of the camp is being presented to a U.S. audience. The exhibition’s May 8 opening marks the anniversary of VE Day or Victory in Europe Day, 1945, when the Allies celebrated Nazi Germany’s surrender of its armed forces and the end of World War II in Europe.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. arrives in New York City after the exhibition completed a successful run at Madrid’s Arte Canal Exhibition Centre, where it was extended two times, drew more than 600,000 visitors, and was one of the most visited exhibitions in Europe last year. The exhibition explores the dual identity of the camp as a physical location—the largest documented mass murder site in human history—and as a symbol of the borderless manifestation of hatred and human barbarity.
Featuring more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs, mainly from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the New York presentation of the exhibition allows visitors to experience artifacts from more than 20 international museums and institutions on view for the first time in North America, including hundreds of personal items—such as suitcases, eyeglasses, and shoes—that belonged to survivors and victims of Auschwitz. Other artifacts include: concrete posts that were part of the fence of the Auschwitz camp; part of an original barrack for prisoners from the Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp; a desk and other possessions of the first and the longest-serving Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss; a gas mask used by the SS; Picasso’s Lithograph of Prisoner; and an original German-made Model 2 freight train car used for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps in occupied Poland.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. traces the development of Nazi ideology and tells the transformation of Auschwitz from an ordinary Polish town known as Oświęcim to the most significant Nazi site of the Holocaust—at which ca. 1 million Jews, and tens of thousands of others, were murdered. Victims included Polish political prisoners, Sinti and Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and those the Nazis deemed “homosexual,” “disabled,” “criminal,” “inferior,” or adversarial in countless other ways. In addition, the exhibition contains artifacts that depict the world of the perpetrators—SS men who created and operated the largest of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camps.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage has incorporated into the exhibition nearly 100 rare artifacts from its collection that relay the experience of survivors and liberators who found refuge in the greater New York area. These artifacts include: Alfred Kantor’s sketchbook and portfolio that contain over 150 original paintings and drawings from Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Schwarzheide; the trumpet that musician Louis Bannet (acclaimed as “the Dutch Louis Armstrong”) credits for saving his life while he was imprisoned in Auschwitz; visas issued by Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania often referred to as “Japan’s Oskar Schindler”; prisoner registration forms and identification cards; personal correspondence; tickets for passage on the St. Louis; and a rescued Torah scroll from the Bornplatz Synagogue in Hamburg.
Also on display from the Museum of Jewish Heritage collection will be Heinrich Himmler’s SS helmet and his annotated copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, as well as an anti-Jewish proclamation issued in 1551 by Ferdinand I that was given to Hermann Göring by German security chief Reinhard Heydrich on the occasion of Göring’s birthday. The proclamation required Jews to identify themselves with a “yellow ring” on their clothes. Heydrich noted that, 400 years later, the Nazis were completing Ferdinand’s work. These artifacts stand as evidence of a chapter of history that must never be forgotten.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. was conceived of by Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and curated by an international panel of experts, including world-renowned scholars Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, and Paul Salmons, in an unprecedented collaboration with historians and curators at the Research Center at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, led by Dr. Piotr Setkiewicz.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is located at 36 Battery Place, in Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan. Visit Auschwitz.nyc. To view the full release, ticketing information, and further details about partners and funders, visit
SOURCE: Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust