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March 22, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 22, 2013
 

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 22, 2013 The board of directors of Central Florida Hillel has chosen Aaron Well, a seasoned Jewish commu- nity professional, as its new executive director and chief executive officer, effective June 10. This decision co- incides with the construc- tion of an ultra-modern 20,000-square-foot Hillel facility, scheduled to open in August at the University of Central Florida. With more than 6,000 Jew- ish undergraduate students, UCF has the second largest Jewish student population of any public university in the United States. Increasing demand for Jewish student services led Central Florida Hillel to plan its new facility, located on the ground floor of UCF's newly constructed NorthView complex, and en- hance its activity, visibility Aaron Well takes over in June as executive director and CEO of Central Florida Hillel. and creativity. "We initiated a national search for an executive direc- tor who reflects the ideals of the Hillel organization and will bring an innovative pro- gram to serve the broadest possible segment of Central Florida's Jewish college stu- dents," said Hank Katzen, chairman of the board of Central Florida Hillel. "In selecting Aaron Well, we are confident that goal has been achieved." Since 2003, Well has served as executive director and CEO of the Edward and Rose Ber- man Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh, which serves the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and other nearby colleges. In this period, he was instrumental in doubling the number of participating young adults from 2,500 to 5,000. Well also is credited with creating the award-win- ning J'Burgh program, which is nationally recognized as a leader in Jewish "twenty- something" engagement and community development. Well's professional achievements have earned him a 2011 Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence Award from the Hillel Insti- tute and the 2010 Leonard and Doris Rudolf Jewish Professional Award from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. "We know that success- ful Hillels are proven to pivot around talented execu- tive directors, invested local boards, and community and university support," said Scott Brown, vice president talent of Hillel International. "Aaron is a talented leader in our Hillel networkwho inspires interest and support through his en- trepreneurial spirit. We thank him for his decade of service to Hillel and to the Pittsburgh Jewish community." "This is an exciting op- portunity for the Orlando Jewish community in gen- eral and UCF Hillel specifi- cally," added Rob Goldberg, Hillel International's vice president campus services. "Aaron led a dramatic trans- formation of the JUC in Pitts- burgh, and we know that he and his team will continue to positively impact student life at University of Central Florida Hillel." Well will begin his new assignment in Orlando just two months before the grand opening of Central Florida's highly anticipated new Hillel facility at UCF's NorthView complex. Jewish students from UCF and surrounding colleges will benefit from a 21st century "Google-in- spired" Hillel, designed to tap into student creativity and to empower students to create their own visions of Jewish community on campus. The facility will feature a modern theater, game room, caf~, lounge areas, meeting rooms and various other amenities. NorthView's upper floors will feature modern, upscale housing for 600 UCF students. Centrally located directly across the street from Bright House Stadium, NorthView combines convenient cam- pus access with an array of sophisticated amenities and satisfying social opportuni- ties unparalleled by any other housing option at UCF. More information is avail- able by visiting http://www. gohillel.org or by calling Sam Kauffman, Central Florida Hillel's interim ex- ecutive director, at 407- 382-2658. Professor Yudit Greenberg, Cornell endowed professor of religion and director of fhe Jewish Studies Program at Rollins College, is presenting a lecture by Dr. Steven Gimbel, a philosopher of science and a distinguished professor. The topic of the lecture is "Einstein's Jewish Science," based on Gimbel's recent book "Einstein's Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion." The lecture will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 28 at the SunTrust Auditorium in the Crummer Building on the Rollins College campus. Gimbel is the Edwin T. and Cynthia Shearer John- son chair for distinguished teaching in the humanities and chair of the philosophy department at Gettysburg College. In his book, pub- lished by Johns Hopkins Uni- versity Press, Gimbel poses the provocative question: Is relativity Jewish? The Nazis denigrated Al- bert Einstein's revolutionary theory by calling it "Jewish science," a charge typical of the ideological excesses of Hit- ler and his followers. Gimbel explores the many meanings of this phrase and considers whether there is any sense in which Einstein's theory of relativity is Jewish. Arguing that we must take seriously the possibility that the Nazis were in some measure correct, Gimbe! examines Einstein and his work to explore how beliefs, background and environment may--or may not--have influenced the work of the sci- entist. You cannot understand Einstein's science, Gimbel declares, without knowing the history, religion, and philosophy that influenced it. As an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, Gim- bel double-majored in physics and philosophy and pursued his graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University where he wrote his dissertation on interpretations and the philosophical ramifications of relativity theory. His pri- mary research interests are in the philosophy of space-time physics and questions about scientific methodology, but he has also written on the geometry of M.C. Escher's artwork, Maria Montessori's theory of mind, sportsman- ship in the Kasparov/Deep Blue chess match, and the environmental ethic of the American Nazi Party. He has published 25 scholarly articles and book chapters and five books including "Defending Einstein: Hans Reichenbach's Early Writ- ings on Space, Time, and Motion," and "Exploring the Scientific Method: Cases and Questions." This event is part of the Jewish Studies Distinguished Lecture Series at Rollins Col= lege. Light refreshments will be provided. Parking is avail- able across the street at the SunTrust Garage on Lyman Avenue or on campus. For more information, Steven Gimbel contact Greenberg at 407- 646-2176 or ygreenberg@ rollins.edu. Greg Dawson was the featured presenter at an educational forum on Feb. 21 at the Holocaust Memo- rial Resource and Educa- tion Center in Maitland. His subject was his recently published book, "Judgment Before Nuremberg," which adds to Holocaust litera- ture by filling a hole in the historical record of World War II: Nazi occupation and terrible crimes committed in Ukraine in the early years of the War. During his visit to a museum in a small town in eastern Ukraine, Dawson saw photos from the era of Nazi occupation in 1941-1943. He was in the town, which is near the Russian border, to do research for his first book, "Hiding in the Spot- light." One photo depicted four men who had been hung until dead: three Nazi soldiers and one Ukraine collaborator. There were other photos in the museum that were taken inside the courtroom during the trial. The Russians held the trial, judged the accused, deemed them guilty of treason, and performed the executions in December 1943. Dawson had been sur- prised to note the date on the photos. Like many oth- ers, he thought the World War II War Crime Trials were not held until 1945 in Nuremberg, Germany. When his first book was finished and published, Daw- son remembered that grisly photo and its early date. He started searching for information in Holocaust DITION "I'4-E-B R TASTED SO GOOD, This Passover, whether you choose to celebrate with us or in the comfort of your own home, let Too Jay's do the preparation for your holiday meal. From all of us atTooJay's, we wish you and yours a Good Pesach. 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Dawson suggested that books and popular movies about the Holocaust, like "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "Schindler's List," have provided the details in main- stream thought as if that was all there was to know about it. He realized that something had to be done about the omission of so much history, and it was probably up to him to bring it to light. His resolution solidified after hearing a newscaster on TV saying, "millions of Jews in Ukraine disappeared during WW II, and no one knows where they went." This second book, "Judg- ment Before Nuremberg," is what Dawson has done to re-educate us all. Dawson related that in 1941 and 1942 the Jews of Ukraine were shot by the thousands at the hands of the Einsatzgrup- pen, and crowds of people were locked into vans, the exhaust pipes of which were made to blow into the sealed compart- ments. These methods were slow and inefficient, and remarkably gruesome. The young German troops, report- edly became so distressed at the horror of their tasks that they would often be unable to continue. Their superiors sent word to headquarters that some other way had to be devised. (The gassing trucks led to the idea in 1942 of developing specially built gas chambers and ovens for use in Auschwitz and other camps. This process was to be more efficient, and being hidden inside of buildings would be useful in maintain- ing secrecy.) While doing the re- search for "Judgment Be- fore Nuremberg," Dawson learned that in 1943 the Russians expected the war to end soon. The defeat of the Germans in the long winter battle at Stalingrad was a turning point for the German military. The Nazi occupiers in Ukraine were quickly ordered out, as the powers in Berlin did not want to lose another group of their fighting force in addition to their great losses at Stalin- grad and in Kharkov near the Russian border, where Dawson's mother lived when she was a child. In the few days the occu- pying Nazis had been given to leave Ukraine, those in the east were ordered to hide their crimes. They were ordered to dig up all corpses in the killing fields and burn them, using surviv- ing Jews as labor. There was not enough time, and there are still fields holding many of the lost. Russian leaders knew of all this but denied it. Later, after the fall of Com- munism (1991) in the Soviet Union, Russia memorialized the deaths with monuments in Ukraine, but oddly did not identify the lost as Jews. In 2002 they corrected this omission. Dawson said that he has found during many talks at schools and before adult groups that almost no one had any idea of the enor- mity of what happened in the early years of World War II in Ukraine. During one of these talks before an adult group interested in Holocaust literature he asked how many had heard about it, and not one hand was raised. According to Dawson, three-quarters of a million Jews were viciously murdered in Ukraine before the inven- tion in 1942 of gas chambers and ovens for Auschwitz and other camps. With Dawson's book the body of Holocaust literature has been expanded and corrected, including the story of that trial and execu- tion of four men that took place in Ukraine before the trials in Nuremberg in 1945. The average reader now has access to a more complete history of that terrible era thanks to Dawson's persis- tence and investigative skills. Dawson's first book, "Hid- ing in the Spotlight," the ac- count of how his mother and her sister escaped death when the Nazis invaded Ukraine, has become avaluable tool for understanding the personal costs of the Holocaust. Daw- son's second book, "Judgment Before Nuremberg," provides much more information about the history and atrocities in Ukraine in 1941-43 than any previous work about the early years of World War II. Both books are available at the li- brary in the Holocaust Memo- rial Resource and Education Center in Maitland. Copies may also be purchased at the Holocaust Center. J