The strength of women, when faced with the worst kind of persecution, never ceases to amaze me. That’s why I feel so moved by the story of Regina Jonas and Edith Stein, two German Jewish women, who against impossible odds, held steadfastly to their spiritual beliefs. The women, though faced with inevitable death, continued serving their communities during the Holocaust.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, will present scholar and author Emily Leah Silverman, who will lecture on the spiritual resistance and religious vision of Jonas and Stein. Although the women’s expressions of faith were markedly different from one another, each was considered a religious rebel at the time.
Jonas was the first female rabbi in Jewish history. she received her rabbinical ordination in 1935 from the head of the Liberal Rabbis’ Association in Offenbach am Main. She served as a rabbi in Berlin until 1942, when she was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where for two years she continued her work including counseling internees.
Stein was the first woman to receive a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Gottingen. She claimed her Jewish identity while she was still a cloistered Carmelite nun. In a 1933 letter to Pope Pius XI, she denounced the Nazi regime and asked, “as a child of the Jewish people,” for the Pope to also denounce the tyrannical rule.
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Both women met their deaths after being deported to Auschwitz — Stein in 1942 at age 51, and Jonas in 1944 at age 42.
Jonas was almost forgotten until 1991, when an American-based German scholar rediscovered her and made her works known worldwide. Stein was canonized in 1998 by Pope John Paul II, and was made one of six patron saints of Europe.
The event is presented by FIU’s Program in the Study of Spirituality. it’s free and open to the public. The museum is at 301 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach.
Jewish teachers, black students
When Jewish teachers in Germany and Austria were fired in the 1930s, many of them were able to escape the oppression by coming to America, where they found jobs on historically black colleges and universities. That historic meeting of white European Jewish professors with African American students in segregated America in the 1930s and 1940s, is the focus of an exhibition, “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow” and a panel discussion at 3 p.m. on Nov. 16, at the Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave.
The panel is drawn from Jewish and African American community leaders and will include Rabbi Solomon Schiff, former executive director, Greater Miami Rabbinical Association; the Rev. Gregory Pope, instructor in religious studies at Florida International University, senior pastor at First Bethel Baptist Church of Dania, and chairman of the board of the Seaboard Baptist Conventions; Dr. Oren Stier, associate professor and director of Holocaust studies at Florida International University, and Yous Truly, freelance columnist and for the Miami Herald. Dr. Nathan Katz, director of Jewish Studies at FIU, will moderate the panel.
The admission fee is included with regular museum fees: $7 for adults; $5 for students and seniors with ID; $4 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for museum members and children younger than 6. Parking is available across the street from the museum.
Unity on the Bay to hold gala
Unity on the Bay will host its Sixth Annual Gala at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14 in Jungle Island’s Treetop Ballroom, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail.
According to the Rev. Chris Jackson, senior minister at the Unity on the Bay, the evening will include a cocktail reception; a silent auction, a three-course diner, and ‘world-class entertainment,’ In addition to the obvious benefit of raising funds for Unity and its programs, this is a great opportunity for our congregants to celebrate what we accomplish together throughout the year, for each other and for our community, while having lots of fun.”
Entertainment for the event will include Axis, a multicultural and musically diverse band, and Union Six, a sextet and band with a “barbershop style” repertoire.
Funds raised through sponsorships, bids, donations and ticket sales will support the several community outreach programs that Unity on the Bay supports throughout the year. “Such programs,” said Jackson, “make a difference in the community, positively impacting the homeless, youth in distress, children and adults with disabilities, and other groups facing challenge, hardships and transition.”
Dan Nichols, one of the country’s most dynamic, influential and beloved Jewish musicians, will give a free, outdoor concert at Temple Sinai at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
According to a press release from the synagogue, Nichols’ melodies have become an integral part of the spiritual and liturgical experience of countless individuals and Jewish communities.
The event will include food trucks with the on-site selling of dinners starting at 6 p.m. Although the event is free and open to the community, if you go, please bring a canned good as a donation for the Kosher Food Bank.
‘Creating a Mindful Nation’
The University of Miami will host a conversation with Congressman Tim Ryan at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Newman Alumni Center, 6200 San Amaro Dr. on the university’s campus in Coral Gables. The Ohio Democrat will speak on: “Creating a Mindful Nation: A New Agenda for America.”
Ryan is dedicated to the practice of mindfulness. According to information from the university, he holds a weekly “Quiet Caucus” gathering for lawmakers and has been recognized for hosting a series of sessions featuring professional athletes and military veterans sharing stories about how mediation has helped them, mentally and physically.
Ryan is the author of “A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit.”
The event is free and open to the public with a RSVP. Call 305-284-1121 to RSVP.
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