Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for October 24: NYC College of Technology marks 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht

October 24, 2018 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Suzanne Loebl. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Loebl

School’s Jewish Faculty/Staff Association Has Sponsored Kristallnacht Programs for Three Decades

Kristallnacht, the series of pogroms targeting Jews that took place on November 9-10, 1938, will be commemorated at the New York City College of Technology.

The college’s Jewish Faculty & Staff Association has sponsored Kristallnacht memorial programs for 29 years. This year’s program, titled “Kristallnacht: 80 Years After and 30 Years Beyond,” takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at noon.

Participants will recall this turning point in the persecution and genocide of Jews and millions of other human beings. However, the positive angle will be a reflection on the stories that survivors and witnesses share—along with the deep concern about the future that many people believe is a repeat of history.

This year’s Kristallnacht Anniversary program will feature as speaker Suzanne Loebl, a Belgium Holocaust hidden child, and a Brooklyn Heights resident. Loebl will also receive the City Tech JFSA Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.

And receiving the 2018 Distinguished Humanitarian Award will be Edith Everett, an educator, community leader, philanthropist and humanitarian.

Also joining the program will be Cathy Buggenhout, Belgium consul general in New York.

The City Tech Jewish Faculty & Staff Association believes that survivor testimony is paramount in telling the personal history and in preserving memories, and that such testimony becomes urgent, particularly as the survivor community diminishes in numbers.

In keeping this history alive, CUNY has organized and curated Kristallnacht anniversary commemorations for almost three decades. The first within CUNY was on November 10, 1988 to mark the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Some of the co-sponsors have been the Brooklyn Historical Society, CUNY Baruch College Jewish Studies Center, CUNY Macaulay Honors College, the Center for Jewish History, Facing History and Ourselves, the Interfaith Committee of Remembrance, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the Remember the Women Institute, the New York Board of Rabbis, the City Tech Foundation and City Tech Faculty Commons.

Programs are always free and open to the general public. The New York City College of Technology is at 300 Jay St.

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‘Convivio’ Exhibit Explores Jewish and Hispanic Influences on the Comics

Jews, Hispanics and the comics converge during a unique art exhibition to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.

This annual celebration actually spans the second half of October and the first half of November.

The exhibit, titled “Convivio: Jews, Hispanics and the Comics,” will be at Repair the World’s Brooklyn headquarters, at 808 Nostrand Ave. in Crown Heights, through November 18. Exhibit hours are Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Convivio (Spanish for “living together,” “coexisting”) documents two groups and how they came to define the American comic book industry.

Comics are a unique artistic medium, a paradigm of American assimilationist values and mainstream culture. Paradoxically, they have also demonstrated unique aspects of identity, narrative, ethnicity, religion, race and the self from their very inception.

During the 1930s, Jews came to invent and define American comics books. They left their imprint on an industry and a popular culture fraught with segregation and prejudice, often hiding in plain sight like the image of Clark Kent’s glasses masking Superman’s true identity beneath.

By the 1960s and ‘70s, Hispanic artists and writers also made their way into the business, adding their own unique voice from an initial position as outsiders. During this period, Jews and Hispanics often shared the same New York neighborhoods — the Lower East Side, Harlem and the Bronx — forming a convivial relationship that created bonds of influence and mutual respect.

The exhibition documents this relationship and presents many kinds of comics: mainstream publications that are generally accepted by the American public, but may be read in specific cultural ways regarding Jews and Hispanics; contemporary identity comics written and drawn by writers and artists no longer afraid to be different; and “fine artists” who use comic book references as a way to focus and define religious, cultural and personal authenticity.

There are artists in this exhibition who are both Hispanic and Jewish, contradicting existing stereotypes.

The artists are Claudia Ahlering, Laura Alvarez, Chris Duckett, Will Eisner, Escobar, Ray Felix, Athena Finger, Max Gottfried, Goldie Gross, Miguel Guerra, N. Steven Harris, Paul Hoppe, Jack Kirby, Lon Levin, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Alitha E. Martinez, Jezebel Martinez, Betty Palmer, Rodney Ramos, Archie Rand, Noaj Sauer, Arlen Schumer, Joel Silverstein, Emily Steinberg, Mark Texeira, Miguel Trelles, Ephraim Wuensch, Roberto Williams and Sara Woolley.

The exhibit’s organizers are Be’chol Lashon, Bronx Heroes Comic Con, Jewish Art Salon and Repair the World. The UJA Federation of New York also provided support.

Repair the World’s NYC initiative launched in the fall of 2015 to tackle pressing local needs by mobilizing communities to volunteer. Its website states, “We enable people to transform their neighborhoods, city and lives through meaningful service experiences, rooted in Jewish values, history and heritage.”

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Judaism in Another Art Form: Book Illustration

Heights Illustrator Paul Zelinsky Set To Give Talk on Beloved Book Series

Brooklyn Heights resident Paul Zelinsky, an award-winning children’s book illustrator, presents “The Making Of ‘All-Of-A-Kind Family Hanukkah’” at Congregation Mount Sinai next weekend.

“All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah” is a new picture book by author Emily Jenkins and illustrator Paul Zelinsky. The original All-of-a-Kind family books were written by Sydney Taylor from the 1950s to the 1970s. They were based on her own experiences growing up in the early 1900s in a large and loving Jewish family living on the Lower East Side. Taylor was the first children’s writer to publish fiction about a Jewish family for a universal audience.

Zelinsky, will receive the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Illustrators. He also received the 1998 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing “Rapunzel.”

He was inspired to pursue a career in children’s book illustration after taking a course with Maurice Sendak at Yale University. He later earned a graduate degree in painting from Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia and Rome. He will give an informative presentation about the process of illustrating “All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah.”

This free event  begins on Sunday, November 4, at 4 p.m. RSVP by Thurs. Nov. 1 to [email protected], or 718-875-9124. Congregation Mount Sinai is at 250 Cadman Plaza West.

All books purchased at Congregation Mount Sinai will be available for signing ($18). A great Hanukkah gift! And latkes will be served!