The Whitfield community is pleased to welcome Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett to campus on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 for an all-school assembly from 2:10 – 3:15 p.m.

Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is the Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland. She is University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University, where she has been affiliated with the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies.

The title of Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s presentation is Restoring Memory: Recovering a Lost World for Future Generations. The themes of her talk—the importance of interfaith dialogue, cross-cultural encounters, and civic national identity— are in alignment with Whitfield’s Habits of Mind and Heart. She will emphasize the central role of cultural competence and, in particular, civic openness to understanding the experiences of diverse communities in any society.

Restoring Memory will be an illustrated presentation, in the format of a Power Point, that tells a coming of age story of Mayer Kirshenblatt, Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s father.

Mayer Kirshenblatt, whose family perished in Treblinka, a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland, recorded, in conversation with his daughter, his memories of growing up in Opatów, Poland between the wars. When he was 73 years old, he began to paint what he remembered. The Polish citizens of Opatów learned about Mayer and treasured what he recalled about the vanished Jewish cultural world of his youth. The story of how the town embraced him and the impact of this encounter are the focus of Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s talk. The book They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland before the Holocaust, presents Mayer’s paintings and a narrative created from his conversations with his daughter.

While her Whitfield presentation is not open to the public, Dr. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett will also be delivering lectures at the Missouri History Museum (10/09) and the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center in St. Louis (10/11).
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