How WWI Transformed the American Jewish Community

Top Pick November 4, 2018 Newton $5.00
Jewish Welfare Board World War I poster, 1918 (Poster: Sidney H. Riesenberg/Alco-Gravure, Inc.)
Jewish Welfare Board World War I poster, 1918 (Poster: Sidney H. Riesenberg/Alco-Gravure, Inc.)

Before World War I, most Americans saw Jews as an alien population. Gene Fax’s talk describes the Jewish transformation from “immigrants” to “Americans,” showing how America’s participation in World War I led to Jews being integrated into American life, becoming one of the many co-equal ethnic and religious groups. It also explains how the war began the destruction of Eastern European Jewry decades before the Holocaust.

Gene Fax has researched the Jewish experience in World War I extensively. His book, “With Their Bare Hands,” was inspired by his grandfather, who fought in the war. He combed through the archives and found the very trench where his grandfather stood in 1918.

There will also be a spotlight talk following the main program from Harry Penn: “My Childhood in Wartime Lithuania: Lifelong Impacts of Surviving the Holocaust.”

Harry Penn’s presentation retells his memories of the terrors of his childhood in Lithuania and the lasting reverberations throughout his life. He was born in Kaunas in 1939, two years before the Germans invaded. His parents had their professional careers taken away, and his family was sent to the Kovno Ghetto, marked for destruction. Harry survived and immigrated to the United States after the war.

Free for JGSGB members.

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Fact Sheet
Sunday, November 4, 2018, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Congregation Beth El-Atareth
561 Ward St
Newton, MA 02459
$5.00 Non-members

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