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MHPJ Newsletter No. 5
North American Council 
November 3, 2005
   

 



NORTH AMERICAN COUNCIL
Victor Markowicz, Chairman
Stephen Solender, Chairman
Christina Orwicz-Gantcher, Director Marketing & Communications, NY
Michael Berkowicz, Chair NY chapter
Rabbi David H. Lincoln
Irena Grudzinska-Gross
Esther Zlota Herman
Grazyna Simon
Eva Wierzynska
Ewa Zadrzynska


C O N T A C T S
Please note! The NAC contact information has changed:

NORTH AMERICAN COUNCIL
Stephen D. Solender
130 East 59 St, New York, NY 10022
Tel. 212 836-1536
Fax 212 836-1387
solenders@ujafedny.org 
 info@mhpjnac.org 
MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY 
OF POLISH JEWS
48 Jelinka Street 
01-646 Warsaw, Poland
Tel. (48-22) 833-0021
Fax (48-22) 832-2043
museum@jewishmuseum.org.pl
www.jewishmuseum.org.pl
  

C  O  N  T  E  N  T  S
:: Victor Markowicz, Named Founding Donor to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews
:: President Aleksander Kwasniewski Voices Strong Support for the Museum During Recent U.S. Visit 
:: Tad Taube, President of Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, Hosts Dinner to Generate Increased Support for the Museum 
:: Michael Steinlauf Describes the Planned Content of Permanent Exhibition
:: Upcoming Events


- The Jews of Czestochowa Exhibit, November 2nd to 10th 
- Michael Berenbaum to Speak about the Importance of Permanent Exhibition, November 30th 
- Presentation of the Architectural Competition at the Center for Architecture, December 1st


:: The Museum in the Media
:: Become a Member of the Museum Today


Victor Markowicz has been named Founding Donor of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in recognition of his vision, faith and financial support for the Museum project. The first to make an initial gift of over $1 million, Markowicz showed an intense desire to see the project succeed. He and his wife, Monica, have graciously hosted many events in order to generate support in the community for the Museum. Monica has become one of the most important leaders on the North American Council, becoming intimately involved in event planning and fundraising. 


Monica and Victor Markowicz

Moreover, the North American Council is deeply indebted to both Victor and Monica for their support during initial development of the Museum project. "They made an early commitment during a time of the project's infancy, before the other major donors. This project could not have begun without their generosity," says Stephen Solender, Chairman of the North American Council. Thanks to their leadership the Museum now has a total of $33 million secured for the Museum building, from the Polish government and the City of Warsaw as well as private donors, and therefore the architectural project has moved into the construction phase. 
Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski has been an avid supporter of the Museum project and led the push to secure government funding. Being acutely aware of how important the president's role was over the past years Victor Markowicz honored Kwasniewski on September 15th by presenting him with a plaque of appreciation from the North American Council of the Museum for the vital role the President has played in the development of the Museum.



President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Victor Markowicz

President Aleksander Kwasniewski has made ground breaking progress on the road to Polish-Jewish relations throughout his 10 years as the president of Poland. During a recent trip to the United States President Kwasniewski voiced strong support for the Museum and has said its existence is essential to deepening the relations between the Jewish people and the Polish nation, and urged people to support the project in order to reach that goal. 
"President Kwasniewski was the first Polish statesman to recognize the need to restore the memory of Jewish presence in Poland and the importance of presenting the Jewish history in a modern center of culture and education named the Museum of the History of Polish Jews," said Victor Markowicz, the first businessman who supported the project with a major donation. 
During a dinner hosted by the American Jewish Committee on September 15th President Kwasniewski noted that some three-fourths of world Jewry can trace their roots to Poland. He spoke about the importance of remembering the community that flourished for nearly 1,000 years before it was virtually wiped out under Nazi occupation. On September 16th, the Anti-Defamation League praised Kwasniewski for his efforts in encouraging Poles to acknowledge and confront its history with the Jewish community as well as "for giving a major boost to the establishment of a Museum of the History of Polish Jews by funding a substantial percentage of its cost." 
For further comments of President Aleksander Kwasniewski during his trip go to 
www.president.pl/x.node?id=479
 



From left: Dianne Taube, Tad Taube, President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Jolanta Kwasniewska

Tad and Dianne Taube, who are major donors to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, hosted a private dinner to honor President Kwasniewski and his wife Jolanta in San Francisco on September 10th. The dinner was preceded by a gala night at the San Francisco Opera, where the Presidential couple was welcomed and the Polish national anthem was played. Supporters of the Museum flew in from Paris (Tomek Ulatowski) and New York (Sigmund Rolat). 
Distinguished guests present at the dinner learned about the Museum, its historical role and the power of this Center to educate and radiate knowledge throughout Eastern Europe. They were also very positively influenced to support this project by statements from the President and from Mr. Taube. "We are deeply indebted to Tad Taube and his wife Dianne for hosting the dinner, for their inspired leadership and for their very generous support of the Museum," said Stephen Solender. 
Mr. Taube is chairman and founder of the Woodmont Companies, a diversified real estate investment and management organization. Amongst many philanthropic commitments, he also serves as the president of the Koret Foundation, which strives to improve cultural and community life in the San Francisco Bay area. 


On August 21 more than 50 people gathered in the Southampton home of Victor and Monika Markowicz for an afternoon reception devoted to the Museum project. Among the Founding Friends present were Andrzej and Malgorzata Rojek, Witold Sulimirski, Barbara Wierzbianska, and Aristide and Vera Zolberg.

Michael C. Steinlauf, professor of history at Gratz College and scholar of Eastern European Jewry, gave a very engaging lecture in which he presented the concept of the Museum and outlined the plans for the core exhibition. He also proposed a very broad definition of "Polish Jews" justifying it in the multi-layered historical context. He spoke of Polish Jews as a single civilization buffeted in modern times by the rise of nation-states, emigration, wars and persecution. 

Steinlauf emphasized the fact that the "Museum's story will show the history of the world from which the vast majority of American Jews, most European Jews, half of all Israeli Jews, are descended." In order to gain a deeper understanding of this, the greatest settlement of post-exilic Jewry, visitors will be able to trace various aspects of Jewish life, the establishment and growth of social structures, legal systems, cultural institutions, and religious traditions, and how they were entwined with the 1000-year history of Poland. 

In future issues of the Newsletter we will present an outline of the Museum's permanent exhibition based on Professor Steinlauf's lecture. The precise content of the Museum's core exhibition is being worked on by a committee of academic experts from universities in Europe, Israel and North America. 
 


Upcoming Events

The Jews of Czestochowa Exhibit 
Tuesday November 2nd through Thursday November 10th

Polish Consulate, NYC

The exhibition titled "The Jews of Czestochowa - Coexistence, Holocaust, Memory" will be on display from November 2nd to the 10th hosted by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York City. This exhibit will be on display to recount the spirit and vitality of Czestochowa's Jewish community. The exhibition presents photos and other memorabilia documenting pre-war Jewish life in Czestochowa, Poland, the tragedy of the ghetto, and deportation to Treblinka. There are also two videos with eyewitness recollections by former residents of the city, and a display of works by Czestochowa art students called "Inspired by Jewish Culture." 

The exhibit is an example of the types of presentations that will be found in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. 

Viewing hours will be Monday through Friday 9:30 am - 5:00 pm, Wednesdays to 7:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 am - 7:00 pm at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, 233 Madison Avenue at 37th St., New York, N.Y. 
For more information call 646-237-2112.


Michael Berenbaum to Speak about the Permanent Exhibition 
November 30th
NYC

On November 30th renown author and scholar Michael Berenbaum will give a presentation about the permanent exhibition planned for the interior of the Museum. Berenbaum was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation and from 1988 to 1993 he served as Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, overseeing its creation. 
A cocktail reception will be held by David and Lydia Sarfati to help raise the funds needed to help make the permanent exhibit a reality. $1000 suggested minimum donation. For more information please contact Steve Solender at 212-836-1806 or solenders@ujafedny.org 
 


Presentation of the International Architectural Competition 
for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews 

Thursday, December 1st from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Center for Architecture, NYC

 

The North American Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews will host a symposium and panel-discussion featuring the winning design by the Finnish team of Lahdelma and Mahlamäki and other entries of the recent international architectural competition for the Museum building held in Warsaw, Poland. 
The architectural competition, which concluded with the announcement of the winner on June 30, 2005, was a major international cultural event, with many top architects submitting fascinating projects. Eleven short-listed designs will be presented, among others projects by Daniel Libeskind, Kengo Kuma and Zvi Hecker. Panelists will include the author of winning design Rainer Mahlamäki, Professor Kenneth Frampton of Columbia University, Michael Crosbie, Editor in Chief of Faith and Form Journal and author of "Designing the World's Best Museums and Art Galleries," Michal Borowski, Chief Architect of Warsaw and a representative from the Museum staff in Warsaw. 
Admission will be $50 at the door. Visa, Mastercard, check and cash accepted. Checks may be made out to "FJC - A Foundation of Donor Advised Funds" and "Museum of the History of Polish Jews" on the memo line. RSVP by November 23rd is appreciated. 
Refreshments will be served following the program. The Center for Architecture is located at 536 LaGuardia Place, between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets, in New York City. For more information please call 212-836-1536 or email LowellL@ujafedny.org

 
The Museum in the Media

During a recent trip to the U.S. Lech Walesa, leader of Solidarity, former President of Poland, Nobel Peace Prize winner (1983) spoke about the importance of the Museum commemorating 1000 years of Polish Jewry that is being built in Warsaw's former Jewish quarter which was destroyed by the Nazis during World War II. During an interview with The New York Sun, Mr. Walesa said, "The Jews were a great nation within Poland before the war. It's important for us to remember them. They also took part in the Warsaw Uprising, and now they're missing and we have to remember what they meant to the culture and history of Poland." For the full text of the article go to www.nysun.com/article/20647  
Also, there was media coverage during Dianne and Tad Taube's hosting President Kwasniewski at the San Francisco Opera. Click here for the full text.  
The events of the recent months have resulted in much publicity and public interest around the Museum of the History of Polish Jews project in Poland, as well as in the United States, Great Britain and Israel. In particular, articles written by the Associated Press, Reuters and the BBC have led to world-wide circulation of the news on the architectural competition. Read further press coverage about the Museum on our website at www.jewishmuseum.org.pl  
Please forward the newsletter to your friends. To be added to our email list please contact us at newsletter@mhpjnac.org  
For more information about the Museum of the History of Polish Jews North American Council please email info@mhpjnac.org  


Become a Member of the Museum

Become a member of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews today. The Museum project needs your financial support more than ever in order to finance the permanent exhibit, temporary exhibits and to maintain ongoing operations. We invite you to donate at the following levels: $25,000, $20,000, $15,000, $10,000 ,$7,500 , $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, $500 or your most generous gift. To donate online go to www.nyc777.com/museum or use the form at the end of the newsletter. 
Please help us continue the momentum we have achieved on the path to building the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
To become a Founding Friend of the Museum or join the Circle of Friends and for full List of Founding Friends and Members of the Circle of Friends please go to www.nyc777.com/museum 
Please let us know if you too would like to host a parlor meeting devoted to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews for your friends and family members. Call Stephen Solender at 212-836-1806 or email solenders@UJAFEDNY.ORG 
DONATE TODAY
Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews through the Grant Assistance Program maintained at FJC - A Foundation of Donor Advised Funds. 
Please make checks payable to "FJC - A Foundation of Donor Advised Funds" and be sure to write "Museum of the History of Polish Jews" on the memo line." Mail the checks to: 
 
Stephen D. Solender 
North American Council of the MHPJ 
130 East 59th Street 
New York, NY 10022
 


Tel. 212 836-1536 
Please fill the form below and email or fax to: 
fax 212 836-1387, e-mail: solenders@UJAFEDNY.ORG  

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YOU CAN NOW ALSO MAKE A CONTRIBUTION TO THE MUSEUM ON A SECURE WEB SITE USING YOUR CREDIT CARD! For more information go to www.nyc777.com/museum