Letters | NMAJH and Holocaust Education

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Remembering the Dead

Over the course of months, we’ve heard 50,000 dead, 75,000 dead, 95,000 dead, and it is easy to become numb and indifferent to these deaths. Each one represents a real, multidimensional person, a U.S. citizen, who had families that loved them and had meaningful lives.

Thank you for publishing “Those We’ve Lost” to COVID-19 to introduce us to extraordinary people who walked this earth. They all deserve to be remembered and mourned.

Suzan Hirsch | Fort Washington

Reconsider NMAJH Plan

Regarding “NMAJH Furloughs About 2/3 of Staff” (May 7), I have been a member of the museum since its opening and fully support its mission of telling the story of Jews in America. However, whoever’s collective vanity was responsible for conceiving and building this edifice, the sad truth is, the Philadelphia Jewish community simply cannot support the operation and the
liabilities of $150 million white elephant.

There are simply not enough people to justify maintaining such a large facility. And relying on an annual fundraising dinner and occasional rentals of the space for private functions does not do any justice to the stated goal.

My suggestion, instead of throwing good money after bad, is to sell the building to someone able to repurpose it for other use, pay off the mortgage and move the most important part of the exhibit to smaller quarters, and then put it online, including regular special exhibits.

The money spent on this important but unaffordable undertaking will be better spent elsewhere in the community.

Jeffrey Gladstein | Penn Valley

Holocaust Education Act Lacks Teeth

According to an article in the Exponent (“Senate Passes Holocaust Education Act,” May 21), the U.S. Senate passed a Holocaust education act and provided $l0 million to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to produce educational materials for those who teach Holocaust history.

Nowhere is it stated that anyone has to teach it. The states of California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Oregon mandate Holocaust history must be taught, and Florida, Illinois and New Jersey also mandate genocide education in grades seven through 12.

Pennsylvania passed Act 70, which does not impose a mandate, but state schools may offer Holocaust instruction to students, though providing no funds for materials to schools already struggling. Act 70 was passed because an attempt to mandate instruction could not be passed.

It has been said politics is the art of compromise but this non-action by the Pennsylvania Legislature was surrender. There are millions of people who have no clue what happened in the 1930s and 1940s, so how can we proclaim “Never Again,” when they don’t know what happened in the past?

Ralph D. Bloch | Jenkintow


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