Worlds Apart: Antithetical Jewish Experiences in the Twentieth Century
The CJC invites you to our book discussion with Dr. Ori Z. Soltes, the former Director of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum. RSVP required. Only those who register will receive the Zoom link to access the lecture.
This program will delve into the following books:
- Immortality, Memory, Creativity, and Survival: The Arts of Alice Lok Cahana, Ronnie Cahana, and Kitra Cahana
This book reviews the story of a 14-year-old girl from Sarvar, Hungary who was deported to Auschwitz by the Nazis, together with her family. She was the sole survivor of the deportation and transit through three different camps, ended up marrying a rabbi, moving to Houston, Texas, by way of Israel, and becoming an artist. She defeated Hitler in three ways: she survived; she ended up turning the destructive processes of her Holocaust experience into creative expression–extracting rainbows from the ashes; and she and her husband produced three children (both sons becoming rabbis) and nine grandchildren. Her older son, Ronnie, also achieved artistic success as a poet; his oldest daughter, Kitra, has already gained recognition as a photographer and filmmaker–and both of them and their work are in part informed by Alice’s experience and the powerful impact of its transmission on their lives and those of the other members of the family. These two narratives could hardly be more opposite in expressing aspects of the Jewish experience in the modern and contemporary world. The talk will include an array of visual images.
Funding for this publication was made possible with a grant by the Federal Republic of Germany. Dr. Ori Z. Soltes conceived this publication with Rachel Stern, the Founding Director and CEO of The Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art in New York. Immortality, Memory, Creativity, and Survival: The Arts of Alice Lok Cahana, Ronnie Cahana and Kitra Cahana was published by The Fritz Ascher Society. The Fritz Ascher Society researches, discusses, publishes, and exhibits artists whose life and work were affected by the German Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945. Its work commemorates their artistic achievements, introduces work that may have been forgotten to a broad audience, and initiates an active dialogue about individuality and artistic integrity in response to conditions of extreme duress and to political tyranny.
- Growing Up Jewish in India: Synagogues, Customs and Ceremonies from the Bene Israel to the Art of Siona Benjamin
This book considers the diverse and positive experience of the Jewish communities in India, culminating with a discussion of the work of an artist who, growing up in that Hindu and Muslim country, went to Catholic and Zoroastrian (Parsi) schools, before migrating to America and finding her artistic voice as a harmony of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious influences.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Ori Z. Soltes teaches at Georgetown University across a range of disciplines. He is the former Director of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum. Soltes has authored or edited 24 books and scores of articles and exhibition catalog essays. This includes several articles on the work of Siona Benjamin, and volumes such as Our Sacred Signs: How Jewish, Christian and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source; The Ashen Rainbow: Essays on the Arts and the Holocaust; Mysticism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Searching for Oneness; Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture; Magic and Religion in the Greco-Roman World: The Beginnings of Judaism and Christianity, and most recently, Eros and Eris: Love and Strife in and Beyond the Greco-Roman World.