Liverpool has launched a few exhibitions this month to mark the Holocaust. One of the exhibitions consists of a re-creation of Anne Frank’s Amsterdam bedroom and has been located inside a church by the exhibitions’ organizers, hoping that doing so will convey a message of tolerance and the results of hatred to Liverpool’s gang violence-troubled youth.

Organizer Jerry Goldman acknowledged he had reservations about placing the exhibit in a church, but said he hopes the thousands of children who are scheduled to attend will take a look at their own behavior — and ask themselves questions about the consequences of hatred and intolerance.

“Hopefully they will realize how ridiculous it is to hate people because they are from another neighborhood and support another gang,” Goldman said. The exhibition “should really challenge the reasons and differences hatred is based on still today.”

Jewish schools have banned their pupils from visiting the exhibition on grounds of it being placed in a Christian place of worship. IMO, this is lame. Do those schools also ban their pupils from interacting with Christian children or going to play-dates at their Christian peers’ homes? If for anything, Jewish schools should challenge the exhibition for the trivialization of the remembrance of Anne Frank and Holocaust victims in general. Liverpool’s gang violence and crime problems result from a troubled economy with traditional industries being on the decline, low career perspectives for youths without higher degrees of education and ineffective integration of many foreign immigrants, leaving many youths without a sound sense of self-worth, them therefore seeking affirmation and identity in joining gangs and banding together to set themselves off from other groups. It is important to teach about the Holocaust, but to use the remembrance of the Holocaust as a universal cure for whatever hate-related issues a society might have trivializes what happened about 65 years ago and does not do the victims justice.

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  • Sarah… religious Jews can’t even set foot in a Church. Individuals are of course free to do what they like – I myself have gone into many Churches, especially the old ones in Europe, so I could see some of the last extant anti-semitic imagery and statuary left – ie the broken and disgraced synagoga… google it. Anyhow, I know that there is no chance that I would invariably engage in proscribed worship whilst in these establishments, but I still think a Jewish school sending kids to see an otherwise lame exhibit, well… if they really want to go, that’s a decision that their parents should make.

    Well, at least I think so anyway…

  • ck, I’m well aware of that and have seen a few of those ekklesia vs synagoga statues myself. I just thought those Jewish schools should have a more important point of criticism to make than that the exhibition’s located inside a church. As far as I’ve seen with my Chasidishe friends in Britain, even the frum communities are more open-minded over there than e.g. those of Willi or Monsey, so, from knowing how my friends tick, I figured that not going to the exhibition because of its location was a lame excuse.

  • There’s nothing lame about a Jew not going into a place of idol worship. Elementary Halacha.

  • I feel it’s lame if I know that even Charedim there are not quite as strict about such matters.

  • Maybe the “Chareidim” that you know are lame Chareidim. There’s certainly no lack of accusations on this site that such Chareidim exist. And they do.

    Simply ask them, why is it Halachically permissable for them to enter a church and post their detailed explanation here so that lame Am Aratzim like me can correct their misguided ways.

  • I didn’t say they’re perfect, just that they aren’t as uptight or are capable of differentiating between going to a place for an exhibition and going to a place for idol worship. I didn’t say that they should attend the exhibition either, just that they should have a more important point of criticism to make. And it’s not quite the parents’ decision anymore once the school has banned something, even if things there are not just as strict as in Lakewood.

  • So because they’re lax in their observance, that makes those of us who try not to be hypocrites lame?

    And why the mention of Lakewood? Now that was really lame!

  • No, Shy Guy, the key word is reading comprehension: what I said is that if they already aren’t as uptight, the apology above comes across as a lame excuse. For all I care, you may try not to be a hypocrite and stay away from churches, Christian hospitals, homes of non-Jewish people, and the internet (as they also worship idols there).

    The mention of Lakewood was to point out that parental decisions can be highly influenced by schools’ guidelines, and I was aware that “Lakewood” was a term people could associate something with as opposed to me mentioning e.g. Monsey, Kiryas Yoel etc. I know quite a few nice and pious people from Lakewood and am well-aware that the one or the other blogger accusing Lakewood of whatever it might be accused of are not what they pretend to be themselves.

  • Ah, pardon. You mean the Chasidishes you know visit famous churches, as CK and you do? With my poor reading comprehension skills, it wasn’t clear to me what exactly constitutes your Chasidishe friends’ “open-mindedness”.

  • Sort of ^^ Also, I’ve experienced some recommending a Christian hospital to another on grounds of being dis-satisfied with the local Jewish hospital. In many parts of Europe, hospitals or a considerable share of hospitals are church-run. I don’t know what degree of observance you consider yourself, but you might find the document ‘Dabru Emet’ interesting.

  • I have personally never heard of a Halachic ruling against going to a Christian hospital – unless they would insist on you reciting 5 Hail Marys and genuflecting when you enter the lobby. 🙂

    Thanks for the Dabru Emet link. All very nice. I’ve never had a personal problem with non-Jews who are not interested in snuffing out either my body or my soul. However, reading the page you linked to, I don’t necessarily agree 100% with every last word they say.

    And – good grief – there’s an overwhelming number of such organizations and declarations already. And some of them are bad for the Jews.

    Where were we. Ah. Anne Frank.

  • The Dabru Emet declaration was published in the NYT if I’m not mistaken. Critical views on the declaration can be found through the project’s main page. A rabbi of the OU made a few points of criticism, one being that Christians pray to Jesus, which is theologically incorrect even though most Christians don’t understand that themselves, therefore nobody can be blamed for getting this wrong impression. I’m more concerned about Evangelicals trying to get a grip of Israel.

    But back to the topic, I do get concerned about the trivialization of the remembrance of the Holocaust. Any thoughts on that?

  • But back to the topic, I do get concerned about the trivialization of the remembrance of the Holocaust. Any thoughts on that?

    It’s a tought call. I don’t know whether this might be bickering considering this might be the first introduction to the Holocaust in any serious form for these kids. I cannot say from here whether it is better than nothing or not. The organizer’s intent was certainly well-meaning, for sure.

    Now, however, I have really gotten concerned about your Chassidishe friends’ complacency! 😉

  • Regarding the OU rabbi, You may have been referring to Rabbi Berg, if I recall. Closest thing I could find was Rabbi Bald. As far as who Christians pray to, I disagree with your blanket statement that it is theogically incorrect that Christians pray to Jesus. That depends on the Christain flava being adhered to.

  • Theologically, if Christians pray to a person, that qualifies as idolatry for them, but many, even religious leaders, are not aware of that. There are more than 1,200 Christian denominations in the US, most of which bare of critical religious studies and profound religious knowledge, which in turn spurs religious extremism.

    Complacency? In a way. 🙂 There are a few Chasidishe rabbis among my friends, but the vast majority are traditionalists rather than believers. You’ll find more pious folk among the BT than the FFB people.

  • Correction: the OU rabbi is Rabbi David Berger. Cached copy of his statement on “Dabru Emet is here.

    That sounds about right to me.

  • You’ll find more pious folk among the BT than the FFB people.

    As Chazal said “b’makom she’baaalei teshuvah omdin, tzadikkim gemurim einam ye’cholim la’amod.”

    However, again I disagree with making this a blanket statement. There’s no lack of pious FFBs who stick to their guns.

    But like Avis, BTs try harder. 🙂

  • Read it before; it’s also linked to on the Jewish Scholars Project site.

    As for the teaching of the Holocaust, I teach myself, and there’s plenty of great teaching material on the Holocaust available which offers you a variety of approaches to the topic, but there is just as well a lot of fantastic teaching material available on gang violence. My concern is that if teaching about the Holocaust gets instrumentalized to fight violence that stems from decidedly different roots, things get too trivial and worst case will be counter-productive.

  • Should have added, I meant percentage-wise as BT people deliberately choose that lifestyle for themselves.

  • My concern is that if teaching about the Holocaust gets instrumentalized to fight violence that stems from decidedly different roots, things get too trivial and worst case will be counter-productive.

    I would be similarly worried if this was packaged by some major academic or historical institution as a guideline for perpetual future use and reference but that is not the case here. It seems to be a local idea and very limited in scope.

    Again, it sounds like it’s better than nothing.

  • I’d have to look up the British curricula; I know that WW2 as such is covered at length in history lessons there while there’s a stronger focus on the Nazi’s manipulative and destructive politics and the Holocaust in German history curricula. Alas, my students often tell me that during high school, teachers often taught them about the Holocaust in a way they couldn’t relate to. Bear in mind that students during puberty, particularly those of lower educational backgrounds as PISA found out, are more likely to detest what they are taught and the teachers teaching them than to wonder what they could get out of a subject.

  • You guys are right to avoid churches. I visited a synagogue once, and in the next days I found myself beset with gefilte fish cravings while running the Seinfeld DVD series on continuous loop. It’s a slippery slope!

  • Tom, I’m not afraid of churches. I’m too pale to convincingly insist on being of a non-mixed background. 🙂

  • A woman of your evident intelligence, charm and (we safely assume) pulchritude surely boasts at least a dash of Irish blood.

  • Treverer Celtic, not Gaelic Celtic 😉 Ask TheMiddle about my appearance; he’s been given an impression while I had to do a drawing of him with MS Paint. 🙂

  • I’d ask, but Middle can’t be trusted to disclose his own appearance, that mystery man.

    Treverer Celtic… a noble lineage! Reseach discloses that Bach, Beethoven, Kant, and anyone else colloquially referred to as ‘good’ Germans were, in fact, of Celtic heritage. And did you know that the Celts originally settled present-day Hungary? Throw Bartok in there, too.

  • I was born in the same city as Beethoven. 🙂 Genetic research indicated that Treverer Celts likely came here from Phoenicia (before that area turned Arabic) and there even is a legend that Augusta Treverorum (modern-day Trier) was founded 1,300 years before the legendary founding of Rome in 753 BCE. The legend also says that it was founded by the (step-?)son of Queen Semiramis and his following, fleeing the brutal queen’s marriage plans after her husband’s death. Treverer Celts mostly were merchants, breeders of fine horses and outstanding goldsmiths and through trade likely brought Jews and Judaism with them to Central Europe way before the destruction of the second Temple, so there are assumptions that while the Cologne Jewish community’s got the oldest recorded history of a Jewish community north of the Alps, Trier may actually have been the first location of a Jewish community in these parts.

  • Very interesting history, froylein….. Did you blow off Bonn like Ludwig did? Still in the land of poets and thinkers?

  • I can hear Ride of the Valkyries in the background…

  • Tom Morrissey Says:
    January 7th, 2008 at 4:53 pm
    I can hear Ride of the Valkyries in the background…

    Yes but why is the ground shaking?

    Oh my!!!