My colleague George Robinson wrote an insightful piece on the upcoming "Babi Yar" symphony being performed by the New York Philharmonic this weekend. I've never heard the symphony in full, but I look forward to hearing it this Thursday night.
Brandeis' Rose Art Museum is not dead yet. Despite the university's much publicized--then reneged--decision to sell off much of the museum's permanent collection last year, the museum itself has been chugging along just fine. At least that's the indication from the upcoming symposium the Rose Art Museum is hosting on March 10, dedicated to the Babi Yar paintings of the stellar if little known painter Felix Lembersky.
Who's Lembersky?, and what's Babi Yar again? You're forgiven for asking.
The first time I remember hearing of Babi Yar was at Yom Kippur services in 1974 (the year I was Bar Mitzvah). Rabbi Rosenbaum z’’l of my shul , Temple Beth El in North Bellmore, would recite the names of concentration camps before the Ne’ilah service. I am embarrassed that it took me 36 years to understand that Babi Yar was not a concentration camp, but the largest gravesite in Europe.
So starts Yevgeni Yevtushenko’s epic 1961 poem about the then-unknown killing field near Kiev.
The world largely did not know that the Nazis, aided by compliant Ukrainian police, slaughtered 33,771 Jews in a ravine during two days at the end of September 1941, the largest number of Jews who lost their lives in a single Final Solution operation.