Do Jews focus too much on the Holocaust?
Natalie Portman thinks so. The actress, who directed and stars in an adaptation of Amos Oz’s autobiography, told The Independent that the Jewish community needs to reassess the Holocaust’s place as the defining event in our, and broader society’s history.
“I think a really big question the Jewish community needs to ask itself, is how much at the forefront we put Holocaust education. Which is, of course, an important question to remember and to respect, but not over other things.”
During a 2007 visit to Rwanda, Portman was upset when she realized she had never learned about the Rwandan genocide in school, despite it being a contemporary issue.
“I was shocked that that [genocide] was going on while I was in school. We were learning only about the Holocaust and it was never mentioned and it was happening while I was in school. That is exactly the type of problem with the way it’s taught. I think it needs to be taught, and I can’t speak for everyone because this was my personal education.
The 34-year-old Oscar-winner, whose grandparents were killed at Auschwitz, argued that while the Holocaust is an important part of our history, it shouldn’t be taught at the expense of other tragedies.
“We need to be reminded that hatred exists at all times and reminds us to be empathetic to other people that have experienced hatred also. Not used as a paranoid way of thinking that we are victims. Sometimes it can be subverted to fear-mongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen’.”
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.
Anne Cohen was the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg , she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.
Natalie Portman Thinks Jews Focus Too Much on The Holocaust