June 16, 2024
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Jason Greenblatt to Speak Sunday at Inaugural Event for NNJ Holocaust Center

While we approach the inaugural community event on behalf of the Northern New Jersey Holocaust Memorial and Education Center, it has become clear that in these unsettling times, our attendance at such events is vital.

This year’s event will feature Teaneck’s own Jason Greenblatt, former executive vice president and chief legal officer to President Donald Trump and The Trump Organization, who most recently served as Trump’s special envoy on Middle East peace. Greenblatt advocated on behalf of our people in the U.S. and Israel and will speak at this event on the topic of “Insights into Middle East Diplomacy and the Rise of Ant-Semitism Through the Eyes of a Son of Survivors.”

Steve Fox, co-chair along with Bruce Prince of the Holocaust Memorial Committee, and himself a son of a survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto and fought with the partisans, is immensely grateful that Greenblatt will be appearing at his first public address since leaving the White House in Teaneck.

“We are honored as well as fully cognizant that a man of the stature of the Honorable Jason Greenblatt will bring our community out in support of the establishment of a fitting and meaningful memorial to the Holocaust,” he said. “So many of us in Teaneck come from survivor families and it is our duty to preserve the precious memories of those who bravely withstood the horrors of the Nazi era for our next generation and those that follow.”

The evening will also feature two special tribute awards to community members who in their own ways have contributed to the perpetuation of the lessons of the Holocaust.

State Senator Loretta Weinberg will be honored with the Community Leadership Awared for her assistance in securing the funds needed for the Holocaust Memorial as well as the Memorial of the Enslaved Africans which will be situated alongside each other on Teaneck’s Municipal Green, in a garden to nurture human understanding.

Norbert Strauss, Holocaust survivor and educator as well as weekly contributor to The Jewish Link, will be recognized with the Holocaust Awareness Award for his efforts in elucidating the world before, during and after the Holocaust.

Hopefully, the funds generated by this historic evening, through sponsorships and entry fees, will be directed to the initial stage of the Holocaust Memorial’s central sculpture. The planning for the sculpture, which will be the first object viewed by the public as they drive along Teaneck Road, is underway. A cohort of two local Jewish artists, Chani Jaskoll and Sheryl Intrator Urman, will serve as the co-curators of the art contest to be held in search of the optimal design. Both women carry impressive secular and Jewish art credentials.

Jaskoll, a longtime resident of Teaneck, and a daughter of survivors, recently retired from her position as an art instructor at SAR Academy for over 30 years. She has served as a fine-arts curriculum consultant for teachers in New York and New Jersey and as a creative art consultant for the annual Israel Day Parade. Her brilliant watercolors have been widely displayed and she has earned numerous awards including the Partnership2Gether Community Task Force Art Contest in 2014 as well as first place awards in the 51st Annual New Jersey Senior Citizens Art Show in October of 2017, the Bergen County Senior Juried Art Show in July of 2017 and Celebrating Bergen County Diversity in 2018.

Urman has been involved in the Art World for nearly 30 years. She has participated in numerous exhibitions both within the US and internationally and received numerous awards for. Her art includes narrative and representational art, and abstract and expressionist pieces, he uses many mediums, including glass and mosaics. She has curated many gallery shows and is active in the artist communities of New York and New Jersey and in the Jewish art world. Urman is the founder of Art for Learning LLC which offers lectures and guided tours of museums as well as summer art and fashion programming for children.

As co-curators of the Holocaust Memorial Sculpture Contest, Jaskoll and Urman have specific visions for the selected sculpture which has been allocated 10 feet in height, atop an 18 inch pedestal, with no restrictions on width. Materials can be anything that can withstand the outside elements such as metal, bronze or marble.
The key component according to both artists is that the sculpture evoke feelings in the viewer whether he/she is a survivor of the Holocaust, a child of survivors or a young person with very little personal attachment to the period. The sculpture should succeed in engaging the visitor on an emotional level while creating a connection to the universal message of the Holocaust being conveyed.

Projected to surround the sculpture is a wall upon which members of our community and local communities can have the names of their loved ones who perished during the Holocaust inscribed for perpetuity. The cost of this initial phase of the memorial will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and the hope is that the community will participate generously.

All are welcome to attend the event, which will take place on Sunday, January 12, at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Keter Torah, 600 Roemer Avenue, Teaneck. A suggested donation of $36 per attendee will be accepted at the door. A pre-event VIP reception will take place for larger donors. For more information about sponsorships and to register, visit www.nnjholocaustmemorial.org  or call 201-694-4142.

By Pearl Markovitz

 

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