Never Again: marathon reading of Elie Weisel’s “Night”

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How it’s New York: Readers in the marathon include New York politicians, artists, human rights/social Elie_Wiesel_(1987)_by_Erling_Mandelmann_-_2justice activists and more; all nationalities. Readings take place at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
How it’s (Irish) Jirish: The Holocaust is arguably the defining event for Jews in the 2oth century. For those who think it was a long time ago: this writer would have dual citizenship today if my extended family hadn’t been slaughtered. Also for Irishness: David Hyde Pierce, one of the readers, is indeed part Irish. And then there’s NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day was Friday, Jan. 27th. In these times it’s e urgent to “remember never to forget.”

On Sunday, Jan. 29, the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene present a marathon reading of “Night,” by Elie Weisel, to, as the press release states,

“unite voices from around the world in a chorus against prejudice and hatred.”

NightWieselThe tribute to Nobel Peace laureate Wiesel, and his Holocaust memoir, “Night,” will begin at 3 p.m. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place.

The readings will take place in several languages, including French and Yiddish.

“Since Wiesel wrote “Night” in Yiddish, then published it in French and then English, the readings will be primarily in English, as well as in a number of other languages, including its original French and Yiddish.”

Some of the readers, according to the release,

“have had first-hand experience reporting on, fighting and overcoming racial, ethnic, and religious hatred. Elisha Wiesel, Wiesel’s son, will also participate.”

Prior to the reading, from 12pm to 2pm, a number of distinguished Holocaust survivors will share their testimonies in the Museum’s Core Exhibition.  The continuous reading is expected to last to  8 p.m.

Elisha Wiesel, Elie Weisel’s son, said in a release:

“At a time when this country is feeling so divided, when so much negativity is circulating about those who are different from ourselves – those who have different ethnicities, religions or even different political leanings – my father’s words are an important reminder of the dangers of the ‘us versus them’ mentality.  My family and I are grateful to the Museum of Jewish Heritage for hosting this community reading of ‘Night’ at this very important moment in our history.”

The event is free, but completely sold-out with reservations. However, it will be live-streamed. Check www.mjhnyc.org for details.

Participants include: Tovah Feldshuh; Joel Grey; David Hyde Pierce; Itzhak Perlman;

Joel Grey ©Henry Leutwyler

Joel Grey ©Henry Leutwyler

Rwandan anti-genocide activists Jean-Baptists Rudatsikira, Jaqueline Murekatete and Consolee Nishimwe; Geraldo Rivera; Dr. Ruth Westheimer and many more, including Consul General of Germany Brita Wagener.

I’m particularly eager to hear Aaron Lansky, founder of the Yiddish Book Center and author of the terrific book “Outwitting History,” about the resecue of Yiddish books about to be thrown out by immigrants.

I think speakers of Irish will be able to relate.

See the full schedule after the jump.

“Elie Wiesel’s remarkable testimony as a survivor and his grace in reassuring all of us that we can heal, find redemption and protect ourselves through the incalculable darkness has soothed and inspired so many,” said Zalmen Mlotek, artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.  “It is essential that we hear his message and follow his example of civility and strength.”
Presented in front of a live audience (and live-streamed on the Internet) at the Museum’s Edmond J. Safra Hall, the marathon reading of “Night” is hosted by Elisha Wiesel, Abe Foxman, The Museum of Jewish Heritage (MJH), and The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF).

PART 1 (3 p.m.- 4:45 p.m.)

Tovah Feldshuh

Tovah Feldshuh

France’s Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre
NYC Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña
Actress Tovah Feldshuh
Abraham Foxman, director The Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism
Musical theatre (“Fiddler on the Roof”) legend Sheldon Harnick
9/11 Memorial Museum director Alice Greenwald
Jacqueline Murekatete; founder, Genocide Survivors Foundation
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill
David Hyde Pierce; Emmy and Tony-Award Winning Film, Television and Broadway Actor and Director
Theater producer Daryl Roth
Actors Maryanne Plunkett & Jay O. Sanders

Dr. Ruth sitting photo courtesy of Amazon Publishing

Dr. Ruth

PART 2 (5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.)

Sister Mary Boys; dean, Union Theological Seminary
Joel Grey;Tony, Oscar, and Golden Globe Award-Winning Actor
Jessica Hecht; Television and Broadway Actress
Television journalist Ann Curry
Yiddish Book Center founder and president Aaron Lansky

HBO’s Sheila Nevins

Geraldo Rivera; television journalist and author
Edward Rothstein; critic-at-large Wall Street Journal
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
NY 1 News’ Stephanie Simon
Eliot Spitzer; former governor of NY
Brita Wagener; Consul General of Germany
Dr. Ruth Westheimer; Holocaust survivor, sex therapist and author

PART 3 (6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.)

Bill T. Jones, © Christina Lane

Bill T. Jones, © Christina Lane

Ellen Burstyn; Oscar and Tony Award-winning actress
Ambassador Dani Dayan; Consul General of Israel in New York
Bill T. Jones; preeminent choreographer
Daniel Libeskind; architect
Television and radio journalist Pia Lindstrom
Zalmen Mlotek; artistic director National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
Consolee Nishimwe; author and Rwandan Genocide Survivor
Itzhak Perlman; preeminent violinist and classical music authority
Letty Cotton Pogrebin; founding editor Ms. Magazine, social justice activist
Bruce Ratner; chairman Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
Ron Rifkin; Emmy-and-Tony Winning Television and Broadway actor

The evening concludes with a reading of Wiesel’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech by Wiesel’s son Elisha.
Presented in front of a live audience (and live-streamed on the Internet) at the Museum’s Edmond J. Safra Hall, the marathon reading of “Night” is hosted by The Museum of Jewish Heritage, and The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.

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