Natalie Portman questions Holocaust emphasis in Jewish education

August 28, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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B’nai Brith International and The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) are disappointed by Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman’s questioning of Holocaust education’s emphasis within a Jewish education, especially in comparison to other genocides.  

Natalie Portman  Photo: Wikipedia

Natalie Portman Photo: Wikipedia

In a recent interview with Britain’s The Independent, Portman said she was shocked to learn there was genocide occurring in Rwanda while she was in school, yet, only the Holocaust was taught inside the classroom.

Natalie Portman’s original name was Neta-Lee Hershlag/נטע-לי הרשלג.
Dan Mariaschin, Executive Vice President of B’nai B’rith International, and ADC Chairman Dr Dvir Abramovich said: “An emphasis on the Holocaust in a Jewish education is extremely important as it is tied to our identity as a people. Furthermore, the memory of the Shoah must continue to be perpetuated, especially as the number of survivors continues to diminish.

The focus does not come at the expense of learning about other tragedies, such as those in Rwanda and Bosnia. The Holocaust is a necessary cornerstone in Jewish education because of its unique nature, and the universal message that untrammelled evil can lead to immense tragedies.

We agree with Portman’s sentiments that we must not be silent or turn a blind eye to contemporary genocides, and that we should empathize with others facing hatred and violence.

However, questioning the prominence of Holocaust education within a Jewish education is not the way to increase overall awareness of these heinous crimes.”


4 Responses to “Natalie Portman questions Holocaust emphasis in Jewish education”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Natalie Portman’s opinion on the place of the Holocaust in Jewish education is pathetic for its obvious lack of real knowledge or care. She needs to understand that in generalising the Holocaust by aligning it with other genocidal acts, it only serves to eradicate the terrible mark of distinction it deserves, as well as the singularity of those murdered in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, Armenia.

    She is an actress and celebrity; if she wants to enter the fray with these sorts of comments she needs to do her homework. It seemed to me she was in fact detached from the subject (or perhaps subconsciously wanted to relegate the Holocaust to the past, thereby distancing herself from any identification with it), even though she expressed shock at having learnt of the Rwanda massacres during her former school years outside of the school curriculum. She needn’t remind Jews of needing to acknowledge and empathise with more recent genocides; they usually do. And her reminder that they should reeked of arrogance. It’s puzzling that, as an actress, she doesn’t appear to have the imaginative faculties at hand to realise the need to keep alive HaShoah in the consciousness of Jewish people, and others. Most especially with the dangerous anti-Semitic situation that is burgeoning worldwide, especially in Europe. Also her own family suffered during the Holocaust. What’s going on within her psyche that she finds it necessary to speak out in this way at this time? I found it ignorant and offensive. Portman should sort out her own problems without projecting them on to others.

  2. Leon Poddebsky says:

    You mean the distinguished moral philosopher, Natalie Portman?

    • Geoff Seidner says:

      Perhaps I could have, Leon: but I had in mind something less esoteric.
      Ho hum.

      It is so sad that our plenitudinous enemies may somehow contemplate impeaching the Nobel Prizes won by Jews because of Natalie Portman.

  3. Geoff Seidner says:

    13 Alston Gr East St Kilda 3183

    The almighty is so equitable in allocating vital resources:
    the lady beguileth not with her mouth!

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