Former New York mayor to speak at November 1st event

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By Linda Laderman
Legal News

Ask Stephen Goldman, executive director of the Holocaust Memorial Center, why Rudy Giuliani is this year’s featured speaker at the center’s 31st Anniversary Dinner, November 1, and he’ll explain that the choice to invite the former U.S. Attorney and New York Mayor here was based on what he has accomplished to foster an understanding of global events.

“We never have a politician who is running in an election year, but we do look for someone who is well known, a good person who has a connection to changing the world, a person who has left a positive impact on the people they touch,” Goldman said.

“Our decisions do not rest on politics. Giuliani was a hero who stood taller than most people can when confronted with a horrific event. Of course, he had power, but he used his bully pulpit wisely,” Goldman said.

“When we looked at Giuliani, we saw a person who helped a community and a city come to grips with a tragic event in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York,” Goldman said. “This was an invasion of our sovereignty and our very being. Giuliani’s central theme was ‘we will survive,’ a message that the Jewish people have embraced throughout centuries of persecution.”

Goldman does not know for certain what Giuliani will discuss at the event but believes he will be focused on the “heroism” of everyday people.

“He led his city in a heroic way,” Goldman said. “Through his actions, he helped Americans and he helped the world.”

“Giuliani showed Americans that we also can be ‘The Righteous’ by doing the Christian thing, by not thinking of ourselves in any extraordinary way, just by doing what needs to be done,” Goldman said.
Israel’s Yad Vashem World Center for Holocaust Research, a living memorial dedicated to the memory of the more than six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis, bestows the official title, “The Righteous Among Nations” on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Goldman said he doesn’t know if another mayor in that time and place would have acted accordingly, but believes that Giuliani showed how “a single person with power can do so much good by setting an example to be as deeply involved as you can.”

In addition, Goldman said the Holocaust Center recognized Giuliani’s ardent support of Israel. This past May, the former mayor met with Israeli soldiers and, according to Arutz Sheva, an Israeli media outlet, told them, “By defending Israel, you defend the United States.”

In recent years speakers have been chosen from religious, legal, political and non-profit backgrounds. Father Patrick Desbois, a French priest who has devoted his life to confronting anti-semitism and promoting Catholic-Jewish understanding, spoke in 2011. Desbois has received global recognition for his efforts to locate every mass and site where Jews were murdered in Ukraine.

Susan Eisenhower addressed the anniversary dinner attendees in 2013. As chairman of leadership and public policy programs at the Eisenhower Institute, she has been recognized for her work in the former
Soviet Union and in the energy field.

Eisenhower’s grandfather, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, General and former President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, led his troops in liberating the concentration camps at the end of World War ll.

General Eisenhower instructed his soldiers to capture what they saw through film and photos, in an effort to show the world what happened to Europe’s Jewish population. Some of those films are part of the permanent exhibit at the West Bloomfield Holocaust center.

Last year Alan Dershowitz, a renowned legal scholar, defense attorney and a staunch supporter of Israel, spoke to a sold out crowd of 1,300 at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, in Southfield.

“We expect this year’s dinner, also at Shaarey Zedek, to be sold out,” Goldman said. “It’s important to have this event at a synagogue. It gives it context.”

The annual anniversary dinner is also a tribute to members of the community who have contributed their time, energy and resources to the Holocaust Memorial Center, Goldman noted.

“This year we are honoring Jackie and Larry Kraft, whose family’s million dollar donation enabled us to initiate a fund-raising campaign for our building. We have been in existence for 31 years, but only 11 years in the Farmington Hills location,” Goldman said.

As the Holocaust Memorial Center grows, it is reaching larger audiences, Goldman said.

“With the dwindling number of living witnesses, we are planning on how we will teach the story of the Holocaust, going forward.”

Currently, a Holocaust survivor speaks at the end of each docent-guided tour.

“To that end, we are compiling more pictures and artifacts given to us by children and grandchildren of survivors. We preserve it here for future generations, with the promise to never be silent again” Goldman said.

Ticket information for the 31st Holocaust Memorial Center Anniversary Dinner is available by calling (248) 536-9605 or at development@holocaustcenter.org.

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