Telling Story of Holocaust's Horrors Through Ultra-Orthodox Eyes

Brooklyn Museum Plans To Offer Neglected Shoah Perspective

yad vashem

By Paul Berger

Published April 09, 2014, issue of April 18, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Is it permissible to show images of Jewish women with their heads shaved but without a head covering as they walk towards Nazi gas chambers?

This is the type of question faced by organizers of the first Holocaust museum to be aimed specifically at Orthodox Jews.

Elly Kleinman, the Orthodox businessman behind the project, sought the advice of a Hasidic rabbi on this question not long ago. Kleinman said that the rabbi told him: “Are you allowed to show it? You are obligated to show it.”

But Kleinman, who declined to name the rabbi, said he wanted to accommodate the cultural sensitivities of the community’s more conservative wing.

So, for groups that shun images of women, the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center will have a separate track in which the material on display will not include pictures of women.

“Our objective is to cooperate with all constituencies,” Kleinman said, adding, “We expect to resolve these issues within the community.”

It is the need to wrestle with such issues that makes the museum, which is slated to open next year in Brooklyn’s heavily Orthodox Boro Park neighborhood, still a work in progress.

Organizers of the project say theirs will be the first museum in the world dedicated to the “Torah-observant experience.” This, they said, is an approach not seen in any of the Holocaust museums around the world.”

Kleinman, wearing a sharp blue shirt and a pair of dark, horn-rimmed glasses, is seated behind his desk at the Brooklyn headquarters of his home health care company, Americare Certified Special Services.

He has a trim white beard and wears a black yarmulke. On the office wall behind him are photographs of two prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbis: Yaakov Perlow, who is known as the Novominsker rebbe, and David Twersky, the Skverer rebbe. Next to them are photographs of Kleinman meeting with presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Selma. Nearly 50 years ago it was violent Selma, impossibly racist Selma, site of Bloody Sunday, when peaceful civil rights marchers made their first attempt to cross the Pettus Street Bridge on the way to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama." http://jd.fo/r50mf With the 50th anniversary approaching next spring, a new coalition is bringing together blacks, Jews and others for progressive change.
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.