The East Valley JCC’s Center for Holocaust Education and Human Dignity and Boston University’s Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies has launched a new partnership this month and will present their first program on Monday, Nov. 18 in Chandler.
The first program, “Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi: The Gray Zone of Holocaust Survival,” which explores stories by these two Auschwitz survivors, will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler. The program will be presented by Boston University Professor Nancy Harrowitz, author of “Primo Levi and the Identity of a Survivor.”
Additionally, Harrowitz will speak earlier that day at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. She will present “Primo Levi & the Legacy of the Holocaust” at 10 a.m. in Agave Hall on the Pecos Campus.
Through this partnership, the EVJCC will host faculty members and lecturers from the Elie Wiesel Center who will share their expertise at a variety of community programs throughout the Valley. This partnership marks the first time that the Elie Wiesel Center is partnering with an organization outside of its own state.
“An academic center named for Elie Wiesel should not be focused on academic programs alone. The partnership with EVJCC is an opportunity for us to reach beyond campus and collaborate with community organizations around the country who share our desire to raise awareness and interest in topics related to Jewish thought, history and literature,” said Michael Zank, director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies. “This partnership with the EVJCC aligns perfectly with our educational mission and we look forward to a very successful endeavor.”
The Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies is a world-class academic interdisciplinary program for international undergraduate and graduate Jewish studies that creates public learning opportunities for on and off-campus communities.
“Elie Wiesel represents survival and he has always stood for the oppressed. The Elie Wiesel Center at Boston University continues this legacy,” said Rabbi Michael Beyo, EVJCC CEO. “The opportunity for the EVJCC to partner with Boston University is of great significance to us as it brings the power of his presence, his legacy, his voice and his commitment to justice to the Valley.
“As a result of this partnership, the Center for Holocaust Education and Human Dignity at the EVJCC will regularly bring professors and exhibits to help advance its work in teaching tolerance, respect and dignity.”
The foundation for this partnership began several years ago when Rabbi Beyo was the executive director of the Florence Chafetz Hillel House at Boston University, where he established a positive relationship with the Elie Wiesel Center and had the opportunity to work directly with Elie Wiesel and Zank.
“Rabbi Beyo was the connection,” Zank said. “He served as Hillel director at Boston University, which is how I met him, and we connected. He was a force of innovation here and we worked together well. When he told me about the EVJCC project, I was immediately excited and hoped we could work together.”
For Rabbi Beyo, this first presentation is important because “we must continue to teach about the Holocaust and the dangers of hate,” he said. “We cannot let these histories die with the final survivors of the Shoah. The testimonies of Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi showcase a deeply personal, physical account of their lives in the camps, forcing us to address intellectual questions about the difference and value of life, survival and humanity.
“We hope participants reflect on the experiences of Wiesel and Levi, ask these questions, and are moved to continue telling these experiences, bearing witness to a gruesome period of history that cannot be forgotten.”
Tickets for the Nov. 18 program are $18-36. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit evjcc.org/eliewiesel.