News & Jews

The U.S. and the Holocaust
A new documentary by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein
Premieres September 18 at 8/7c

The U.S. and the Holocaust is a three-part, six hour series that examines America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Americans consider themselves a “nation of immigrants,” but as the catastrophe of the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, the United States proved unwilling to open its doors to more than a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking refuge. Through riveting firsthand testimony of witnesses and survivors who as children endured persecution, violence and flight as their families tried to escape Hitler, this series delves deeply into the tragic human consequences of public indifference, bureaucratic red tape and restrictive quota laws in America. Did the nation fail to live up to its ideals? This is a history to be reckoned with.
About the Film
    THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST, a new three-part, six-hour series directed and produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, explores America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the 20th century. The series will air September 18, 19 and 20, at 8-10 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS stations, and all three episodes will stream the night of premiere on and the PBS Video app.
    Inspired in part by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibition and supported by its historical resources, the film examines the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany in the context of global antisemitism and racism, the eugenics movement in the United States and race laws in the American south. The series, written by Geoffrey Ward, sheds light on what the U.S. government and American people knew and did as the catastrophe unfolded in Europe.
    Combining the first-person accounts of Holocaust witnesses and survivors and interviews with leading historians and writers, THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST dispels competing myths that Americans either were ignorant of the unspeakable persecution that Jews and other targeted minorities faced in Europe or that they looked on with callous indifference. The film tackles a range of questions that remain essential to our society today, including how racism influences policies related to immigration and refugees as well as how governments and people respond to the rise of authoritarian states that manipulate history and facts to consolidate power.

Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center Receives Science and Synapses Grant

    Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center (PJTC) is the proud recipient of a grant from Science and Synapses to create a program to merge the worlds of science and religion to show how they compliment each other rather than work in opposition. PJTC’s project, The Intersection of Judaism and Science: Coexisting Searches, will utilize the presence of the congregation’s scientists and rabbis to explore the nexus of science and religion. They will be posing questions and encouraging discussions that will challenge assumptions about the incompatibility of juxtaposing science and religion.
    The program kicks off on Sunday night, September 11, 2022, at PJTC at 7pm. Dr. Thomas Rosenbaum, President of Caltech, will be discussing Physics and Faith. Tensions between science and religion are at a very public high, lending themselves to outsized claims and misrepresentation from both sides. Dr. Rosenbaum will explore these tensions with an eye towards historical antecedents and offer at least one scientist and Jew’s personal attempt to find modest reconciliation and meaning. Future programs will include a panel looking at current medical research and medical ethics (because we can do it -should we?), examining the Bible and archeology with Dr. Kristine Garroway and the relationship between neuroscience and free will with Dr. Liad Mudrik.  All the programs are free and open to the public and will be offered in person and available on Zoom.  
     The organization Sinai and Synapses offers people a worldview that is both scientifically grounded and spiritually uplifting. It provides tools and language for learning and living to those who see science as their ally as they pursue personal growth and the repair of our world.
    They equip scientists, clergy and dedicated laypeople with knowledge and skills to become role models, ambassadors, and activists for grappling with the biggest and most important questions we face. They believe that in order to enhance ourselves and our world, we need both religion and science as sources of wisdom, as the spark for new questions, and as inspiration and motivation.
    Through classes, seminars, lectures, videos, and writings, it helps create a vision of religion that embraces critical thinking and scientific inquiry, and  at the same time, gives meaning to people’s lives and helps them make a positive impact on society.
    Sinai and Synapses is incubated at CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, which links Jewish wisdom with innovative scholarship to deepen civic and spiritual participation in American life.
    Contact PJTC (626.798.1161 or for more information on any of the programs and or to register to attend.



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