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(You Gotta) Accentuate the Positive and Eliminate the negative...

Pay no attention to the number by the month.  Here's a good thought for the New Year.  Shannah Tovah. Ron                        ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


IU Hillel Hosts Holocaust Survivor and Candles Museum Founder, Ms. Eva Kor and Holocaust archivist, Mr. Daniel Spungen for Three Days of Special Programming
Bloomington, Indiana – The Helene G. Simon Hillel Center for Jewish life at Indiana University invites the Bloomington community and IU community to attend a variety of thought provoking programs presented during the week of October 21.  “The Holocaust, Who Will Be for Me?”  begins on October 21st with a showing of Eva Kor’s documentary depicting her own Holocaust experiences and their aftermath.  Following this dramatic documentary, participants will be able to express reactions in small discussion groups.  Throughout the program week, Mr. Danny Spungen’s exhibit of holocaust artifacts will be on display for the public at the Hillel building, 730 East Third Street. 
Other major events during the week include:

4 PM Sunday October 21 Opening Program, Eva Kor documentary film and discussion.

October 121 - 24, Danny Spurgen exhibit at Hillel, open to the public

 4 PM. Tuesday, October 23, at Hillel; A special Eva Kor presentation for Bloomington community religious leaders.

7:30 PM Tuesday, October 23 at the Kelly School of Business; Ms. Eva Kor.  OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

7 PM Wednesday, October 24 at Hillel; Exhibit and presentation by Mr. Danny Spungen, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Eva Kor
In learning about the Holocaust, the most precious, educational material we have are the survivors.  Eva Kor  is a remarkable woman who is a living testament to the Holocaust era. Eva Kor endured unfathomable hardships during her time in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Eva and her twin sister, Miriam, were subject to Dr. Joseph Mengele's atrocious human genetic experiments during their time in the camp. Being victims of the Mengele experiments meant almost certain death, but Eva and Miriam's strong willed spirits, persistence and hope kept them alive. Today, Eva Kor resides in Terra Haute, Indiana where she founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center and has authored two books, Auschwitz: Dr. Mengele's Twins: The Story of Eva and Miriam Mozes and Surviving the Angel of Death. Eva Kor is a revered public speaker, but more importantly she is a true hero and inspiration to the Jewish people.
CANDLES Holocaust Museum
Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiment Survivors
In 1978, after a show about the Holocaust aired on NBC, Eva Mozes Kor began to wonder what had happened to the children in the libera­tion pictures. How did their lives turn out? How had the trauma of Auschwitz and the ex­periments affected their lives? She searched for six long years with the help of her sister, Miriam Mozes Zeiger, who lived in Israel and is now deceased. Kor founded CANDLES in 1984. The Mozes twins located 122 individual survivors of Dr. Mengele's experiments across ten countries and four continents.

The CANDLES Museum is dedicated to tell­ing the story of the Holocaust and the stories of the Auschwitz twins. We need to note that the Mengele Twins are still searching for their Auschwitz files.
 Visitors to the Museum are given a per­sonalized tour and have the opportunity to ask questions and/or wander throughout the mu­seum viewing the many displays. It also serves as a resource center for teachers and provides tours for schools and groups.

Danny Spungen, Collector and Philatelist

In 2007, Danny Spungen, a collector and philatelist, on behalf of theSpungen Family Foundation, acquired arguably one of the best known collections of Holocaust materials related to stamps, covers, postcards, letters, bank note forgeries, and manuscripts from concentration camps & Jewish ghettos. Formally known as "The NAZI Scourge: Postal Evidence of the Holocaust and the Devastation of Europe," the Spungen Holocaust Postal Collection is being made available to the public, to view in Bloomington at the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center.

From Monday, October 22-Wednesday, October 24, Spungen's traveling Holocaust Postal Collection will be on display at Hillel, for students and the IU and Bloomington  community to learn about the atrocities of the Holocaust through this unique collection. 

The Helene G. Simon Hillel Center at Indiana University provides a welcoming, warm, vibrant Jewish community and a “home away from home” for over 4,000 Jewish students on IU’s campus, the 13th largest Jewish population among college campuses. Hillel’s mission is to build a dynamic, creative, and exciting Jewish community for students; to reach out to Jewish students on campus; to build leadership skills in IU students, to provide diversity education and programming to the IU campus.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Here's an old one I think of at this time of the year...one of my favorites


                                                                                             November, 1998

Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:

All families have their special traditions.  Mine is no different.  Every year my mother comes up from Florida for the High Holidays.   Sometime between Rosh Ha Shannah and Yom Kippur, we usually make a pilgrimage back to the old neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago.  Ours was a very ethnic family, three of my grandparents from Czechoslovakia, one from Poland.  My mom and dad, all of my aunts, and of course all of my grandparents spoke fluent Czech.  We called it Bohemian.  At our holiday dinner table, there was as much Bohemian flying as there was English.  So Mom and I (the remnants of the family, except for a cousin in California) pack up the car each year at this time and head back to Cicero and Berwyn with three goals in mind.  1.  To visit the relatives in the Free Sons Cemetery (and they are all there).  2.  To buy several dozen kolatchki (fruit filled Czech pastries), and a few containers of frozen durshkovah (tripe soup).  And 3.  Have the heaviest Czechoslovakian dinner possible at the Plaza Bohemian restaurant in Berwyn.

But this time around, we decided to add a ride past our old home in Cicero, just to take a look.  The neighborhood had changed ethnic groups, but looked almost the same.  Yes, the Czechs had been replaced by Hispanics, most of the restaurants and bakeries replaced their Bohemian signs with ones in Spanish.  When we rode by our old place, we saw an old lady outside cleaning.  My mom wanted to tell her that she had grown up in that house, so we stopped the car and she got out.  She tried to explain that my grandfather had bought the house in 1921 and it had been the family meeting place until well into the 60’s, over 40 years.  My mom and both of her sisters, my cousins, my father, grandparents, and even yours truly had lived in that house.  As my mom left the car, I said that I hoped the lady spoke English. 

While they spoke, pictures of my childhood in that house crept into me.  There was my cousin Ralph and me wrestling on the couch in the front room (the room that looked out on the street, we’d probably call it a living room today).  There was my cousin Judy getting ready to go to a dance.  I remembered vividly the many nights I slept in the front bedroom and watched the lights of the cars going down 60th Court as they reflected off of the ceiling and moved across the walls.  And there was my grandfather, sitting on the front porch on a warm summer evening.  Pictures came of family dinners (Thanksgivings always offered a turkey for the family and a goose for my father and me), and sleepovers on winter Saturday nights, and everyone trying to get into the bathroom on Sunday morning so we wouldn’t be late for Sunday school.  I saw the bathtub, a big iron job on four clawed feet, and the mantel in the front room with the pictures of my grandparents on it.  In my mind’s eye I remembered those pictures, oval, old-fashioned looking, black and white with some kind of sepia painted backgrounds.  I was flooded with a herky-jerky, 8mm-like, remembrance of times long gone. 

I looked over and saw that my mom wasn’t getting too far with the lady on the sidewalk in front of our old place, so I decided to give it a shot and went to talk to her too.   She didn’t speak any English, but I was able to communicate to her that my mother had been a little girl in the house that was now hers.  When she understood, she became very excited and to our surprise invited us in.  We hadn’t been through that front door since 1963 or so.  What a trip to do so now.  The last time I stood in that kitchen and looked out into the alley in back, I was 17 years old, my Mom 50.  Now we were there again, and little had changed.  The old bathtub was gone, replaced with a modern one, but the rooms were very much as I remembered them, down to the dark wood trim that ran along the walls and ceiling in the dining room and in the front.  The wood cabinet where my Aunt Lil kept all of her good dishes remained in place, now holding their good dishes.  Not a whole lot different than it was 35 or even 50 years ago. 

The old lady called her daughter from the back.  It turned out the house belonged to her.  She spoke to us in English and was happy to hear a few funny family stories about the house.  We met her two children who attend Burnham elementary school, the same school my mother, aunts, and cousins attended.  Her older son had graduated from Morton High School, like my parents, my aunts, my cousins, and I had.  It was quite the same, only the tune had a Latin beat to it. 

I felt that we had completed our family remembering day in a wonderful way.  We started where they (my family) had all ended, and ended where we had all lived.  What a great way to remember.

When it was time for us to leave our old house, the old lady, the grandmother hugged and kissed my mother.  Neither could speak to one another, yet there was some bond there.  We walked out to the front door and I turned for one last look at the front room and the mantel with the gas fireplace and the dark wood trim.  There on the mantel were pictures of grandparents from the old country, Mexico.  They stood in the same spot my grandparents’ pictures had stood.  I told the daughter of the old lady, “Take the sombreros off of the people in those pictures, and they could easily be my grandparents.”  She smiled.  We smiled.  

What a way to start the New Year, eh?