September 20th, 2017

Joe Rozenberg: Always adaptable, never bitter

Joe Rozenberg, a survivor of the Shoah from Poland, lived an extraordinary life


Joe Rozenberg lived through the nadir of humanity, the Nazi destruction of European Jewry in the Shoah.

Specifically, the native of Lodz, Poland, whose mother and brother were killed by German soldiers, survived the Lodz Ghetto; several weeks in Auschwitz; three months at the Continental Gummiwerke Rubber Factory at Stöcken, near Hannover, Germany; and the brutal Ahlem slave labor camp.

Joe Rozenberg: It was really like nature, survival of the fittest. (David Sherman for Transfer of Memory)

At Ahlem, about 1,000 Polish Jews worked in underground asphalt tunnels for the war industry. Later, 500 men of other nationalities bolstered the enslaved work force. A memorial at the site of the Ahlem camp notes that 750 prisoners died there: “They starved, froze, or they succumbed to infection, the hard work, by abuse, or were murdered.”

“At Stöcken, only four or five people died,” Rozenberg told the AJW’s Erin Elliott Bryan, in 2009. “At Ahlem, it was like flies. People died right and left.”

In April 1945, Rozenberg became ill and was no longer able to work. German soldiers took the inmates healthy enough to march away from Ahlem, and abandoned the others in the barracks. Those left behind looted the camp kitchen. Keep reading →

September 20th, 2017

Elijah and the Palestinians

Craig Harris creates a show that looks at the past and present of Israel through the story of Elijah


Community News Editor

Composer, designer, performer and writer Craig Harris is telling a story of Israel. Properly, he’s telling a pair of stories, one about the prophet Elijah, one about the modern state and its complicated relationship with its Palestinian residents.

Craig Harris’s SenseAbility looks both at the story of the prophet Elijah and the contemporary Israel/Palestine conflict. (Digital Illustration by Candy Kuehn)

The multimedia show, titled SenseAbility, which Harris will perform at the Open Eye Figure Theatre Sept. 29-Oct. 1, began with the tale of Elijah, which Harris adapted to the stage in 2016 as Elijah in the Wadi, performing it at the Cowles Center.

“He is a witness, and an activist,” Harris wrote about the prophet at the time. “He speaks truth to power, has a deep connection to his people, and is a fierce advocate for those who are disenfranchised.”

Harris decided to partner this project with another, one inspired by his own relationship with Israel. This came to the forefront when his daughter married a Palestinian man who lives in a refugee camp in the West Bank, which caused Harris to make repeated trips to the region. Keep reading →

September 20th, 2017

Peres: Optimism, not naiveté

No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination and the Making of Modern Israel, by Shimon Peres, Custom House Books, 227 pages, $27.99 hardcover

Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER

With the title of his autobiography, Shimon Peres dismisses those who’ve derided him for decades as a dreamer.

Peres arrived from Poland in 1934, an 11-year-old dreaming of kibbutz farming. In a few years, David Ben-Gurion had found him hardworking and reliable, giving him jobs of great responsibility — leading eventually to the Knesset, eight Israeli cabinet ministries, the prime ministry and the presidency.

In No Room for Small Dreams, Peres calls himself “still that curious boy, enamored of hard questions, eager to dream and unbowed by the doubt of others.”

Peres fulfilled two of his “impossible dreams”: an alliance with France — leading to a nuclear reactor — and an Israeli aircraft industry. Overcoming resistance, he fathered the Oslo accords, a peace dream unfulfilled when Peres died Sept. 28, 2016, at 93, a month after completing this book and after a lifetime of optimism and accusations of naiveté. Keep reading →

September 8th, 2017

CORRECTION: Shaare Shalom High Holidays services

The American Jewish World’s Rosh Hashana special edition ran the wrong ad for Shaare Shalom’s High Holidays services.

Services will take place at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul, 768 Hamline Ave. S., not at the St. Paul JCC.

The correct ad is HERE.

Rosh Hashana services are scheduled for:

Erev Rosh Hashana — 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20;

First Day — 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 21; and

Second Day — 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 22.

Yom Kippur services are scheduled for:

Kol Nidre — 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29;

Morning — 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30; Afternoon Service — 5:30 p.m., Break-Fast at conclusion.

The community is welcome to attend.

(The Jewish World apologizes for this error.)