The death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg this week is a loss for his family, for the nation and for the Jewish community. A member of the Senate for nearly three decades, an unapologetic liberal, a gruff legislator who was nonetheless described by his colleagues as a gentleman in an era when civility among partisans is increasingly becoming an anachronism, Sen. Lautenberg — at 89 the oldest member of the Senate — represented a historical memory that is hard to replace.
A product of a poor, immigrant household in Patterson, N.J., he was moved by his own experiences of deprivation to help improve the lot of America’s indigent citizens.
The last member of the Senate who served in the U.S. military during World War II, his political and communal activism was fueled by the sacrifices of a generation that fought for America in the last war that enjoyed national support.
A member of a disappearing generation that remembers a world without a State of Israel, he was inspired by the physical security that Israel offered within its borders to Jews after the Holocaust, and the emotional pride that Israel continues to offer to Jews everywhere.
Although I haven’t commented here on the recent passing of Senator Lautenberg, I have followed the tributes and eulogies. Growing up in the 1980s in New Jersey, I was one of his constituents, and I still recall him visiting our congregation during those years.
One of the tributes that impressed me most this week was one offered by The Jewish Week, which I’ve quoted above. You can find the full text here.
I’ve mentioned before how grateful I am to be taking a noncredit course on “Zionist Thought & Statesmanship” this spring. Among other benefits, the seminar has provided me with an excellent reading list. Most recently, I finished reading A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, by Allis Radosh and Ronald Radosh. (It is worth noting that May 14 will mark the 65th anniversary of the United States, under President Truman’s leadership, becoming the first nation to recognize the State of Israel.)
Published in 2009, the book won the Washington Institute’s Book Prize (for nonfiction books on the Middle East). It received widespread attention; rather than give you a summary/review myself, I’ll point you to some existing analyses.
But wait–there’s more. Bonus material that I’ve located online includes an excerpt and a video (which I hope to have the opportunity to watch in the near future myself) that features the authors discussing their book at the YIVO Institute.
Have any of you already read the book? What are your thoughts?
Received via AMJHISTORY:
Writing Contest for High School Students Celebrates Jewish-American Heritage Month
(New York, March 29, 2013)–To celebrate May’s Jewish-American Heritage Month, high school students are invited to compete in a writing contest to honor Jewish contributions to American culture. Entrants will prepare an essay on the topic: “Which Jewish-American Do You Most Admire?” The winner will receive a grand prize of $180 and the runner-up will receive $100. In addition, both winning essays will be published on www.freshinkforteens.com, printed in The Jewish Week, and archived on the Jewish-American Hall of Fame website www.amuseum.org/jahf. The winners’ schools will also be acknowledged, and both students will receive a Jewish-American Hall of Fame medal. Continue reading ›
This just in:
New Listing of Resource People: Request for Submissions
The Southern Jewish Historical Society is currently soliciting participants for a new resource persons listing. The listing is open to those with expertise pertinent to the field of southern Jewish history and culture: lecturers, archival consultants, genealogy consultants, authors and editors, oral history interviewers, museum professionals and exhibit curators. Materials supplied by the participants will be placed on the society’s web site and made available to individuals and organizations that wish to use the services of those listed.
Those who wish to be included should provide the following information: (a) name, (b) contact information, (c) current and other significant positions, (d) relevant education/training, (e) summary of relevant publications and/or evidence of work in particular field of expertise, (f) financial requirements (honoraria plus expenses), and, as applicable, (g) speaking topics, consulting expertise, and/or specific activities to be performed. Submission of a recent photograph is optional.
Please submit materials via email attachment to Dr. Mark K. Bauman, Chair, SJHS Resource Persons Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SJHS requests that individuals who obtain engagements as a result of this listing service make a voluntary contribution to the society based on fees received. (Suggested amount: 15% of total after expenses).
We welcome your inclusion as a resource person on this listing.