Holocaust Center Marks 40 Years Since Founding

Thank you to Dr. Lauren Apter Bairnsfather for writing this week’s Shabbat message marking the Federation’s founding of our Holocaust Center 40 years ago:

Dr. Lauren Bairnsfather
Dr. Lauren Bairnsfather, Director
Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh

It is my honor to write this week’s Shabbat message in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. At a community event on Wednesday, September 2, the Center’s Advisory Board Chair, Barbara Shapira, shared the story of our origins in the Jewish Federation:

In October of 1979, an auspicious group of leaders from Jewish Pittsburgh decided that our city needed to have a Holocaust memorial. Minutes from the meeting read:

“Our Pittsburgh Holocaust Committee decided at its very first meeting on January 29, 1979 that indeed it was necessary to remember and that a Memorial could effectively promote such remembrance. The Committee very quickly went further. It agreed that a physical monument alone was not enough. It recognized that physical presence and the symbolism it can project can exert impact and influence. However, a living memorial, dynamic and human, must be the essence of the effort to remember.”

How prescient our founders were, when they appointed the first Holocaust Center director in September 1980, forty years ago this month. In 2020 we remain committed to the belief that Holocaust education can exert impact and influence. To that end, our organization is taking steps to become an anti-racist and inclusive organization with a commitment to offering programming that is accessible and welcoming to all.

True to our roots, we will always stand up against antisemitism and Holocaust denial wherever and whenever we see them.

I offer much gratitude to our Holocaust survivors and Generations group, to endowment holders, Life and Legacy donors, foundation supporters, individual donors, educators, and friends.

In the coming year, the Holocaust Center will remain as active as ever. We are embedding Holocaust Education in schools in five counties through the LIGHT Education Initiative, and we will offer virtual engagement through programs and field trips with local, national, and international partners.

We invite you to join us, and we look forward to getting together again in person to remember with hope for the future.

Ad mea v-esrim!

Shabbat shalom,

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and a nice Labor Day weekend. Wear your mask!

Jeff Finkelstein

President & CEO

Stay Informed


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