Jewish Community of Louisville Together in Life, Learning and Leadership Fri, 06 Mar 2015 21:37:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2015 Naamani Lecture Event Features Teddy Abrams Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:01:28 +0000 Read More >]]> Lion of Judah Teddy Abrams1-53When Teddy Abrams was named conductor of the Louisville Orchestra, excitement bubbled up throughout the arts community. Outgoing, energetic and innovative, he has generated a buzz of support throughout Louisville.

Now the University of Louisville Humanities and Jewish Studies Programs have tapped Abrams as the featured guest for the 2015 Naamani Memorial Lecture Event. The event, “Jewish Music and Jews in Music,” will be Sunday, March 29, 2-4 p.m. at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

Abrams is a widely acclaimed conductor, pianist, clarinetist and composer. Prior to coming to Louisville, he served as assistant conductor of the Detroit Orchestra. The maestro also served as resident conductor of the MAV Symphony Orchestra in Budapest, which he first conducted in 2011. Abrams has appeared as a soloist with a number of orchestras, including the Jacksonville Symphony, where he played and conducted the Ravel Piano Concerto in fall 2013. He also performed chamber music with the St. Petersburg String Quartet, Menahem Pressler, Gilbert Kalish, Time for Three and John Adams, and has made annual appearances at the Olympic Music Festival.

Dedicated to exploring new and engaging ways to communicate with a diverse range of audiences, Abrams co-founded the Sixth Floor Trio in 2008. The Trio has performed around the country, establishing residencies in communities in North Carolina, Philadelphia, New York and South Florida. Abrams studied conducting with Michael Tilson Thomas, Otto-Werner Mueller and Ford Lallerstedt at the Curtis Institute of Music, and with David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival; he was the youngest conducting student ever accepted at both institutions.

Abrams is also an award-winning composer and a passionate educator – he has taught at numerous schools throughout the United States. His 2009 Education Concerts with the New World Symphony (featuring the world premiere of one of Abrams’ own orchestral works) were webcast to hundreds of schools throughout South Florida.

The Naamani Lecture Event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Limited garage parking is available for $6. Online reservations are recommended at For additional information or to make phone reservations, call 402-852-0457.

The Naamani Memorial Lecture Series was established in 1979 to honor the memory of Professor Israel T. Naamani, key educational figure, scholar and teacher at the University of Louisville, and beloved Jewish community member. The series is supported by donations to the Naamani Memorial Lecture Fund.

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Deborah Slosberg Receives Award at Melton Conference in Israel; Melton Mission Planned Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:58:58 +0000 Read More >]]> In January, I attended the weeklong International Directors Conference of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning in Jerusalem, Israel. At the opening dinner, I was one of two Melton directors awarded “International Director Certification – Recognition of Achievement” for growth in enrollment between the first and second years of a local Melton program.

The highlight of the conference for me was visiting The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which concretized the connection between what we do as Melton directors for adult Jewish learning in our communities throughout the world and The Hebrew University itself, which created and continues to develop the curricula we use.

Professor Asher Cohen, rector of The Hebrew University acknowledged the importance of the local Florence Melton Schools to the mission of The Hebrew University, which is “to be the University of the Jewish People.” The conference included model teaching by Hebrew U.’s top professors of education, Dr. Howard Deitcher and Professor Jonathan Cohen.

Aryeh Ben David, the founder of Ayeka, Center for Soulful Education, demonstrated exciting new methods of combining the study of Jewish texts with enabling students to more deeply engage and personalize their learning and to explore their spiritual identities. We will be experimenting with this new approach in our teaching at Louisville Melton in the fall of 2015.

Haim Aronovitz, who is leading the Louisville Melton Israel Seminar with Rabbi Bob Slosberg and me this June, is the Melton Director of Israel Seminars, including the newest seminars to Spain and Poland. Aronovitz gave us a “taste” of an Israel Seminar with a culinary tour of Jerusalem’s outdoor market, Machaneh Yehudah, and an amazing visit to the Israel Museum.

He is able to stand in front of an archeological find or work of art and magically create the world and reality of that object.

The trip, June 8-18, will include the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, investigating “Why was Jerusalem Destroyed,” exploration of Tel Aviv: “A City Rises from the Dunes,” travel up the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea, then inland to mystical Tsfat and the Golan Heights, retracing “ the Last Two of Six Days.”

There will also be optional rafting on the Jordan River, beautiful hotels, a Kibbutz Guest House on the Sea of Galilee, and fantastic food everywhere we go.

Louisville’s Melton program was chosen as the core group for this trip because of its rapid growth. Please contact Rabbi Robert Slosberg at or 458-5359 for additional information.

My trip to the International Directors Conference is part of the Louisville Melton budget, which covers faculty development. Louisville Melton is sponsored by Congregation Adath Jeshurun in collaboration with the Jewish Community Center and with support from Congregation Anshei Sfard, Keneseth Israel Congregation, Temple Shalom and The Temple. This program is made possible by a generous grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, the Jewish Foundation of Louisville and the Dorothy Levy Memorial Fund. Scholarships are provided by the Jewish Federation of Louisville.

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YAD Campaign Is a Swingin’ Success Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:56:16 +0000 Read More >]]> 2015 YAD Campaign Event-21 (1)When members of the Young Adult Division gathered for their annual Federation Campaign event on January 24, they stepped off the streets of downtown Louisville and backward in time into a 1920’s cocktail party.

Feathers and fringes abounded as people enjoyed drinks, courtesy of Heaven Hill, and enjoyed an elegant evening that included dinner and dancing.

The evening turned serious as YAD Co-Chair Laurence Nibur, Event Co-Chair Seth Gladstein and Campaign Chair Doug Gordon all called on those in attendance to demonstrate their community leadership by supporting the 2015 Federation Campaign.

Nibur said the younger generation is coming of age. They are represented in leadership positions and their level of giving is increasing.

“YAD is not our future,” Gordon said. The time for YAD is now. It is the young leaders of today who must shape our future.

Excited to see many new faces among the nearly 100 people at the event, Gladstein challenged those present to raise more than they did last year to support programs like Hillel, the Early Learning Center, PJ Library, the Hebrew schools and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

He asked people to look inside themselves and ask what being Jewish means to them, and then to be generous.

To date, YAD has raised $105,428 for the 2015 Federation Campaign, and as of Tuesday, February 17, the total raised for the Campaign is $1.9 million. Seth Gladstein and Hunter Weinberg were the event co-chairs. Keren Benabou and Laurence Nibur are the YAD co-chairs and Beth and Michael Salamon are the Ben Gurion Society co-chairs. Ben Gurion Society members are young adults who make leadership gifts of at least $1,000 to the Annual Federation Campaign.

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Teens in B’nai Tzedek Program Learn to How Be Philanthropists Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:52:18 +0000 Read More >]]> How do you teach a young person the value of tzedakah and the skills he/she will need to become a philanthropist? The Jewish Federation of Louisville’s B’nai Tzedek program is designed to do just that in a way that makes it relevant and engaging for today’s young people.

The B’nai Tzedek program enables young people to experience what it means to be philanthropists by taking them through the process of evaluating projects and choosing which to fund from a pool of dollars to which they contribute.

A one-hour informational meeting for those interested in participating in the group is scheduled for Sunday, March 15, at 2 p.m.

To participate in the program, b’nai mizvah candidates and those who have recently celebrated their b’nai mitzvah donate some of the money they receive as gifts for their milestone celebration. That money will be matched, creating principal for an endowment. Some of the funding from the match will come from the Lewis D. Cole Youth Initiative and some from other donors, to be named later.

The money each candidate contributes is added to the principal of the existing B’nai Tzedek Fund that was created by past program participants, and the amount of money available to be allocated is determined by the same formula that governs the allocation of all endowment funds administered by the Jewish Foundation of Louisville.

Using a curriculum developed by the Jewish Teen Funders Network, participants will work as a group to decide how available dollars should be allocated. They will engage in meaningful discussions and hands-on experiences.

Approaching the project methodically, they will develop a mission statement and answer questions including what’s the purpose of being a Jewish group and what values are important. Once they have determined what they want to accomplish, they will solicit proposals from groups seeking funding for projects or programs that match the B’nai Tzedekers’ goals.

As those proposals come in, the participants will review them, ask questions and, in some cases, even make site visits. Once all the information has been gathered, the participants will hold discussions, build a consensus and decide which proposals they can fund.

The participants will be the decision makers. They will decide what kinds of projects or programs they want to fund, will craft the RFP (request for proposal), evaluate the submissions, ask the tough questions and make the final choices. Once they complete the program, they will have the skills they will need to make informed decisions about their charitable giving throughout their lives.

Along the way, they may be able to earn community service hours for some of their activities.

For additional information, contact B’nai Tzedek Program Director Glenn Sadle, or 238-2701.

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Tip-Off Event Launches Year-Long Celebration of JCC@125 Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:50:38 +0000 Read More >]]> JCC 125 tip off-30The JCC 125 Celebration had its Tip-Off event on January 25, which brought 90 community members of several generations to watch the UofL game, look at old photos and reminisce.

The event is the first of the year’s 125th Anniversary celebration.

The Tip-Off brought together old friends who enjoyed catching up, watching the game on a screen the size of the entire wall of the Upper Gym and noshing on deli food on comfy couches. The atmosphere was festive, fun and comfortable.

“We have one of the oldest Jewish community centers in the country, with a long, rich history, said Ralph Green, committee co-chair. “Many of those in the Jewish community who have been active here grew up at the JCC.”

The festive Tip-Off event even got some people to join the JCC again, said JCC Senior Vice President and COO Sara Wagner.

“I am really looking forward to this year,” Wagner said. “There is so much to celebrate and so many great reasons to bring people together.”

Green said he’s excited about the yearlong celebration. “I’m most excited for the opportunity to have members of the Jewish Community who may have not been active in a while to come back and rediscover it and add to the vitality of the Jewish community,” he said.

The JCC 125 Tip-Off chairs were Green and Craig Lustig, and the event was hosted by Mark Behr, Mark Eichengreen, Doug Gordon, Guy Lerner, Glenn Levine, Mark Perelmuter, Hunt Schuster, Scott Trager and Robin Miller. The JCC 125 chairs are Shellie Branson and Ralph Green, Joanie and Craig Lustig, and Michelle and Aaron Tasman.

Look for more JCC@125 events coming soon so you can join in the celebration of this unique milestone.

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New Orleans Group Honors Jon and Laura Klein and Family Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:46:41 +0000 Read More >]]> Throughout our history as a people, the Jewish community has made taking care of those in need a priority. Often that means providing refuge and support for those fleeing persecution in other lands.

In 1934, two brothers, Elias and Ike Broniatowski, ages 10 and 11, were among only 1,000 Jewish children permitted to enter the United States from pre-World War II Nazi Germany. They left their Polish Jewish parents and seven-year-old brother, Sasha, never to see them again, and set sail for America.

Sponsored by Jewish organizations, the brothers stayed with several sets of foster parents, first in Atlanta, then in New Orleans. Their first foster mother decided that the boys needed a simpler last name, so Elias and Ike became Kleins.

Finally, a good match was found for the boys, and they joined the family of Leslie and Lillian Greenwald. The Greenwalds had grown up in the former Jewish Children’s Home of New Orleans, and Lillian, for a few years, had been forced to place her own children there. With that background, they understood the needs of children who had been separated from their parents and nurtured the two boys.

In the early 40’s, the brothers graduated high school, and Elias attended Louisiana State University for three semesters on a scholarship provided by the New Orleans Jewish Federation. Both enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces. Elias was a member of the First Army Division that landed in Normandy on D-Day and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

After the war, the brothers returned home and married their high school sweethearts. Ike married Vera Barton in 1943 and Elias married Beverly Aronowitz in 1948.

After working as a traveling salesman, Elias enrolled in Tulane University in 1950 and completed B.S., Masters and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry within four years and then embarked on his career as an industrial and research chemist. For the next 27 years, he held executive positions in laboratory science in New Orleans and Mobile, AL, culminating in 1981 with his appointment as a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville Medical School.

In 1994, in recognition of the care and love that the Klein brothers received from the New Orleans Jewish Community, Elias and Beverly created the Klein/Broniatowski College Assistance Fund for Refugee Children at the Jewish Children’s Regional Service (JCRS). The inspiration to create a fund that would assist in higher education came from Elias’s childhood social worker, Ruth Levy, who secured his LSU scholarship.

In the past 20 years, dozens of Jewish college students from Eastern European and Central and South American families have received financial aid through the fund the Kleins created at JCRS.

The Kleins have three children, Jon (Laura), a Louisville nephrologist, Jerrold, a New York-based financial advisor, and Meryl (Barbara) a gerontology consultant living in Memphis; and two grandchildren, Rachel and Sarah Klein. All of them are involved with and supportive of the JCRS scholarship program.

“Laura and I and Rachel and Sarah have all become involved,” said Jon Klein, “as have my brother, Jerrold, and my sister, Meryl, in contributing to the fund which provides scholarship money for young Jewish adults in need.”

On Saturday evening, March 7, the JCRS will celebrate its 160th anniversary with a special program, The Jewish Roots of Music, at which they will honor the Klein family along with the Goldring family, Malcolm Woldenberg, the Cahn family and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, all of which have provided significant support for the agency.

“A large number from my extended family in New Orleans are attending,” Klein added. “When my father came to this country at the age of 10, Jewish communal organizations helped him at every step along the way, from the time he came as a foster child in 1934 until he was a young adult.

“It makes our family very aware of how important these organizations are, even today,” he stated.

Information about Elias Klein was provided by the Jewish Children’s Regional Service.

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Wolff Tells Students about Music Business and His Success Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:45:10 +0000 Read More >]]> As part of Indiana University Southeast’s homecoming celebration and a music performance class, Jonathan Wolff, the award-winning composer most often cited for the Seinfeld theme, presented a lecture about his experiences in the music business.

Wolff described years of hard work both at learning the craft of music and developing a viable music business. He said that during his first 10 years in the business, “I was a musical utility tool,” doing whatever was needed. He was a musician, a recording engineer and an early adopter of electronic music.

He built a studio in his home and expanded his range of services to arranging, producing and recording. “The job I wanted didn’t exist,” he said, “so I created that space for myself.” When the Writers Guild went on strike in 1988, he reinvented himself and went on tour with people like Diana Ross, Tom Jones and George Wallace.

“I began writing music for George,” Wolff said, “and it turns out Jerry Seinfeld had a good friend named George.” So George Wallace referred him to Seinfeld. Eventually, he wound up writing music for 75 steady prime time TV shows.

Wolff described himself as an astute businessman. “I was not the guest composer in LA,” he said, but I was probably the best closer.” He knew how to get into the room with the decision makers, got to know all the people on the set, did favors for people and guarded his client list.

He gave the students several pieces of advice. Do the research, he said. Read the trade magazines so you know what’s going on and analyze the data so you can predict where the work will be and make the connections.

He also told them not to give their work away. It is common practice for producers to ask composers to make demo CDs to show what they can come up with for a theme for a show, but once Wolff decided he was no longer going to do that and told producers if they hire him, he will produce what they want, he began getting more work.

In the best working relationships, he said, the composer meets with the producer or director, they discuss what is needed for the project in question and then the composer goes off and does his job.

Wolff said he walked away from Hollywood because he wanted to have time with his wife and children and he has no plans to go back. “My next career,” he said, “is talking to students, in particular music students.”

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Kashua Speaks on Challenges of Being Palestinian Israeli Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:32:56 +0000 Read More >]]> Jewish Israeli Author Series Sayed Kashua-22In Israel, Sayed Kashua is a well-known novelist, newspaper columnist and writer and creator of the popular television series Arab Labor. Drawing on his own experiences, he draws attention to the challenges facing minority groups in Israel, particularly Arab or Palestinian Israeli citizens.

Kashua spoke at the University of Louisville on Thursday, February 12, and at The Temple during Shabbat services on Friday, February 13, as part of the Jewish/Israeli Author Series with support from the Jewish Federation of Louisville and the University of Louisville.

In introducing Kashua, Dr. Ranen Omer-Sherman, the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Chair of Judaic Studies at the University of Louisville, said, “His works remind Israelis about the dangers of xenophobia and hatred” and they are a “call for respect.”

Kashua told his own life story, interspersing accounts of challenges he and his family faced with bits of humor. Born in the Arab village of Tira. His parents worked very hard, and his grandmother, who lived with them, helped raise him.

He described her as illiterate, but a wonderful storyteller who taught him Israel’s history as she experienced it. Her husband was killed during Israel’s War of Independence, and when the war was over, her family’s fields were confiscated. Kashua said that even though the family still lived in their home in the village, losing the fields made them feel like refugees. The town was also very poor.

Kashua’s grandmother believed that education was the key to escaping Tira, so she sent her son, Kashua’s father, to Hebrew University. While he was a student there, a bomb exploded in the cafeteria, killing nine and injuring around 100. Although his father was not politically active, he was among those arrested at the time. He was held for two and a half years in administrative detention without charges before being released.
In most cases, Arab Israelis live their entire lives in the towns in which they are born. They have few opportunities to live elsewhere.

Kashua himself was an excellent student, and at age 16, he was accepted into a program for talented students at a Jewish boarding school in Jerusalem. It was 1990 and it was the first time he had ever met Jewish Israelis.

At first he encountered many difficulties. He dressed differently from his fellow students, had a mustache and Arabic, not Hebrew, was his native tongue. In traveling home from the school, he was stopped by an Israeli soldier and asked for an ID, which he didn’t yet have and was detained briefly. He was also unfamiliar with the buses and felt like a stranger in the country.

After shaving his mustache and donning clothes like his fellow students, he had no further trouble traveling between his home and school.

The first time he saw a library was at the school, and the first Hebrew book he read was Catcher in the Rye. “It was the first time I knew I could read in Hebrew,” Kashua said, “and more importantly, I enjoyed reading it.”
As he grew more proficient in Hebrew, Kashua began to read Israeli history and started to understand some of his grandmother’s stories and the significance of being a minority in the Jewish national homeland.

He came to appreciate the minority voice in literature and soon realized that he, too, had a story to tell about his own experiences. As a Palestinian citizen of Israel, he has experienced discrimination and privation, but he also attended a Jewish school and has connections in the Jewish community. Because he writes in Hebrew, he also feels disconnected from the Arab community, and has been subject to their accusations of betrayal.

He turned to humor hoping it would help, and it seemed to for a while. He made his home in East Jerusalem, and later moved to West Jerusalem. When war broke out last summer, his feelings of not being accepted anywhere turned to fear for his safety and for that of his family.

Today, he is teaching at the University of Illinois, and he doesn’t know if he will ever be able to return to Israel. For now, he has lost hope of an Israeli society where the Arab minority enjoys full citizenship, he said.
Kashua says despite all difficulties, if you ask the people of East Jerusalem if they want to be Palestinian or Israeli, they say Israeli because life in Israel is still better than life in the West Bank.

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Ruttenberg Looks at Jewish Texts Dealing with Parenting Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:31:17 +0000 Read More >]]> Is there a halachik way (in accordance with Jewish law) to respond when you are reciting the amidah (the central prayers of a Jewish worship service) and a child demands your attention? Is there a blessing for nursing a baby or changing a diaper?

These are some of the questions Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg considered when she spoke at a community Shabbat dinner on Friday, January 23, at the Jewish Community Center.

While there are several volumes of Torah dealing with women’s issues, Rabbi Ruttenberg said, there is no tractate dealing with children. Questions like where do you put the Shabbat candles so young children do not upend them are just not addressed.

She attributes this dearth to the fact that most of the men who wrote the commentaries were scholars who left the child rearing to their spouses and had very little contact with the little ones. There are some places where tradition gives women their own voice, but they are limited.

Ruttenberg, the author of Holy Frustration and Radical Amazement: Parenting as a Spiritual Discussion, said, that sometimes all that is required is building a little bridge to find something relevant in existing tradition.
She also noted that there is precedent for the creation of new traditions. Citing Abraham Joshua Heschel, Ruttenberg said the revelation of Torah is ongoing therefore our generation has to receive it anew.

Rabbi Ruttenberg came to Louisville as part of the Jewish/Israeli Author Series. This dinner was sponsored by the Jewish Community Center and Keneseth Israel. She also spoke the next day at Keneseth Israel at a program sponsored by that congregation.

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Eva Kor Talks about the Power of Forgiveness at IU Southeast Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:28:23 +0000 Read More >]]> Eva Kor with Emily DoyleMore than 1,000 people showed up at Indiana University Southeast to hear Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor of Terre Haute, IN, speak on February 10. So many people showed up, the lecture had to be broadcast to a second auditorium at the Ogle Center and to the students’ dining hall to accommodate the crowd. After the lecture, it was announced that it was the largest audience in the history of the IUS campus.

The lecture was part of IUS’ commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. On February 4, Dr. Angelika Hoelger of IUS gave a lecture on Understanding the Holocaust and on January 28, IUS showed Kor’s documentary film, Forgiving Dr. Mengele.

Kor and her twin sister Miriam were born in Romania in 1934. At the age of 10, the twins were transported to Auschwitz, where they became subjects of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who made them into human guinea pigs. The two were subjected to many unknown experiments. Because of some of these experiments, Miriam’s kidneys never grew beyond the size they were at age 10, and later Eva gave her sister a kidney. “I had two kidneys and only one sister,” she said.

Her sister still struggled with physical ailments, and Eva decided to search for Mengele’s records to try to find out what they had been injected with, but she still hasn’t found an answer. Miriam died of cancer in 1993.
“It is a human right to find out what was injected into your body,” Kor said.

After the war, Eva and Miriam moved back to Romania, but still struggled with persecution for being Jewish. After a few years, they moved to Israel where they went to school. Eva rose to the rank of Sergeant Major in the Israeli Defense Force. In Israel, she met another Holocaust survivor, Michael Kor, whom she married, and the two settled in Terre Haute.

Kor has since traveled to Auschwitz several times with other Mengele twins, and even once, at the 50th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation, with a former Nazi doctor, Dr. Hans Münch. Münch had served at Auschwitz and knew Mengele, but never worked directly with him. Kor asked Münch to go to Auschwitz and sign a document stating what he did and saw there so that she could prove to Holocaust deniers that it was true.

At IUS, Kor said she once gave a lecture at a prison in Terre Haute, and a group of Muslims stood up and told her that they didn’t believe a word she had said. Her answer: “I wish that was true. Then it would have meant that my family was alive. I know I had a mother and father and two older sisters. They disappeared. If you think it didn’t happen, then tell me where they are!”

During the visit to Auschwitz with Dr. Münch, Kor announced to all there that in her name alone, she forgave the Nazis. Since then, she has worked to spread the word of forgiveness. Forgiveness is “life changing,” she said. “I have the power to forgive. No one can give it to you and no one can take it away. I was free of Auschwitz, free of Dr. Mengele.”

She said that one Rabbi told her that in Jewish tradition, one cannot forgive unless the perpetrator has repented. Her response was, “Where does that leave me? I have to remain a victim for the rest of my life? I refuse to be a victim.”

Kor founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute. CANDLES is an acronym for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors. She encourages those who hold on to anger in their lives to write a letter to the person who harmed him or her and at the end, write, “I forgive you.” “Forgiveness is a seed of peace,” Kor said. “I want to sow the seed of peace throughout the world.”

For more information on Eva Kor, visit

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