—More than $1 million raised to support the Museum’s mission of remembrance and education—
New York, NY – The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust marked its 25th anniversary with an annual Generation to Generation benefit that raised more than $1 million and honoredfounders George Klein, Robert M. Morgenthau z”l, Manfred Ohrenstein, Peter A. Cohen, and Howard Rubenstein z”l on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.
The annual L’dor V’dor brought together 300 friends, family, and generations of survivors to support the Museum’s timely mission to serve as a beacon for education about antisemitism and bigotry through lessons of the Holocaust.
“We are humbled to be in a room with generations of family. Tonight, we honor the Museum’s founders, but we also honor the survivors and their descendants,” said Jack Kliger, President and CEO of The Museum of Jewish Heritage. “The same way the Torah is physically passed down from grandparents, to parents, to children at b’nei mitzvahs, we must pass down these responsibilities, and wisdom, along with spiritual knowledge and cultural traditions.”
“This living memorial, this beautiful building, is one of the great buildings of our city, is a memorial to those who did not survive, and a living educational institution inspired by those who did survive,” noted Museum Board Chair Bruce Ratner. “Survivors have been the heart and the soul of everything that we do. After 25 years we are thriving.”
During the event, which was broadcast virtually as well and emceed by political analysts John Avlon (Senior Political Analyst and Anchor at CNN) and Margaret Hoover (host of PBS’s The Firing Line), the Museum presented a video chronicling the early vision to create an institution within view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, to the present day, where hundreds of thousands of visitors come to remember, to learn, and to rededicate themselves to fight antisemitism in all of its forms.
“Twenty-five years ago, their task was to create New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget and to memorialize the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust,” Hoover said. “For over two decades, the Museum has been doing this important work and that would not have been possible without its steadfast supporters.”
Added her husband, Avlon, “We need to face the fact that we are living in a growing climate of antisemitism and Holocaust denial. That’s why the work of this museum is now needed more than ever…because – let’s be clear – standing up to anti-Semitism is everyone’s responsibility in a civil society.”
Leya Kaufman, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, and event Co-Chair Deborah Zuckerman, each eloquently spoke about not remaining silent in the face of antisemitism. Said Zuckerman, “Antisemitism is not over. In the face of these new and continuing threats we cannot sit back. We must all take an active part in the story. So, I ask all of you how, in your everyday life, can you show resilience in the face of hate and take part in the responsibility to document the reality of what we are experiencing and pass it on for future generations to learn from?”
The recollections of each of the founders, or their family members, amplified the Museum’s messages of resilience, renewal and hope.
“If you wanted to pick the most perfect place to frame the American immigrant experience and even of the Holocaust survivors, what better place than right here with Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty,” said Peter A. Cohen.
George Klein added, “We created not only an exhibition but a living memorial. That was the whole purpose, a living memorial is a memorial that tells a story. We have to remember, because if we don’t remember, we will repeat it again.”
Manfred Ohrenstein, who was New York State’s Minority Leader at the time and represented the Battery Park City District, noted the significance of the institution’s name. “A living memorial is something that grows,” Ohrenstein said, “and it continues to grow, and it is still growing…It’s a hallmark, and that’s a great feeling.”
“For my dad, it was the top of the list. He really felt this was a life accomplishment for him that would endure beyond the work that he did for generations, and in partnership with amazing people with the other people on the commission” that created the Museum, said Steven Rubenstein, son of founder Howard Rubenstein z”l.
Morgenthau’s son, Robert P. Morgenthau, said, “We are using the Jewish community as an example for all communities, and we are remembering the Holocaust as a way to make sure that people know that could happen to anybody, and anything we can do to make sure that it doesn’t happen going forward, that is part of our mission.”
Attendees also were treated to a performance by Met Opera Chorus Artists and Friends, Sean Clark and Daniel Hoy, accompanied by Jay Rattman. Event Co-Chairs for the event were Elyse & Howard Butnick, Evelyn & Harry Goldfeier, Rita Lerner & Cliff Salm, Ann Oster, Marilyn Rosen, and Deborah & Wayne Zuckerman. The event’s Leadership Sponsors were Bob & Susan Morgenthau, and Linda Johnson and Bruce Ratner and family. The event’s Heritage Sponsors was George Klein and family.
About The Museum Of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to always remember. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third-largest Holocaust museum in the world and the second-largest in North America, the Museum of Jewish Heritage anchors the southernmost tip of Manhattan, completing the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage maintains a collection of almost 40,000 artifacts, photographs, documentary films, and survivor testimonies and contains classrooms, a 375-seat theater (Edmond J. Safra Hall), special exhibition galleries, a resource center for educators, and a memorial art installation, Garden of Stones, designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The Museum is the home of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and JewishGen.
The Museum’s current offerings include The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do, a major new exhibition offering a timely and expansive presentation of Holocaust history, now on view in the main galleries. Also on view is Survivors: Faces of Life After the Holocaust, featuring photographer Martin Schoeller’s portraits of Holocaust survivors on view through June 18, 2023.
Each year, the Museum presents over 60 public programs, connecting our community in person and virtually through lectures, book talks, concerts, and more. For more info visit: mjhnyc.org/events.
The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.