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Rutgers U and International March of the Living Provide Teachable Moment to Educators

Technology has enabled us to share special moments the world over. On Wednesday, December 19, such a momentous event will take place at the Begin Center in Jerusalem. Through the combined efforts of Rutgers University’s Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience and the International March of the Living, a program titled “Prosecuting Evil: A Conversation on History and Justice with Gabriel Bach” will be livestreamed and available to local schools at the noon hour.

Justice Gabriel Bach was the number-two Eichmann trial prosecutor and is a former justice of the Supreme Court of Israel. Currently 92, Bach has written extensively about his experiences, providing a critical voice and perspective on the events that defined Israel in the post-Holocaust era. His presentation will address the import of the Eichmann trial in the context of history and what it means for the system of justice in modern democracy. The program will be moderated by Richard D. Heideman, international litigator on behalf of victims of terror and human rights violations. Heideman has been instrumental in bringing justice on behalf of victims of terrorism through numerous suits against national backers of heinous acts perpetrated against civilians.

Justice Bach’s presentation will be followed by a discussion on protecting and strengthening vulnerable communities worldwide, featuring Professor John J. Farmer, Jr., senior counsel for the 9/11 commission and former dean of Rutgers Law School. Additional participants will be Stephan Kramer, former secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany; Irit Kohn, past president of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists; and Elie Honig, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and prominent legal commentator.

The co-sponsors of the program have a great deal in common, both with each other and with the theme of the program. The Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience of Rutgers University was established by Paul Miller, alumnus of the Rutgers Law School and former New Jersey Attorney General, who worked alongside lead counsel of the 9/11 Commission. The center at Rutgers, which carries Miller’s name, focuses upon identifying and working to protect vulnerable communities in Europe and the United States. The center provides these communities with educational and practical resources designed to empower them to address and confront specific acts of hatred and intolerance, specifically in the face of growing extremism around the world.

The international March of the Living, well-known to our community, which has provided large numbers of participants to the program from its inception, is an annual educational program that brings individuals from around the world to Poland and Israel to study the history of the Holocaust and to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hatred. Dr. David Machlis, resident of Englewood, co-founded the march in 1988 and has assumed a leading role in its being recognized as the world’s preeminent program aimed at educating the world’s youth about the importance of Holocaust remembrance. More than 250,000 individuals from 52 countries have participated in the march to date. Through seminars, classes and group activities in conjunction with partners and constituent organizations, including federations, Zionist youth organizations, bureaus of Jewish education and a multitude of Jewish educational institutions, March of the Living leaders and students participate in a thorough and comprehensive educational orientation for months prior to the actual trip. The culmination is the two-week, life-altering experience of the march, culminating with the Yom HaShoah, 3-kilometer march from Auschwitz to Birkenau. This experience is followed by the equally unmatched opportunity to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut in Israel, where a festive and joyous march takes place from Safra Square to the Kotel in an unimaginable display of love for and commitment to Israel.

Machlis is urging principals and administrators of local yeshiva high schools to take advantage of this historic presentation, which can be shown to students during their lunch hour on Wednesday, December 16. “It is incumbent upon Jewish educators to provide our students with factual and unmitigated accounts of critical events in Jewish history, which are often slanted and distorted by the media,” uged Machlis.

The program can be accessed through livestreaming by visiting https://motl.org/rutgers/prosecuting-evil.

By Pearl Markovitz

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