RSVP to “The Use and Abuse of the Holocaust in American Political Discourse Today” with Ambassador David Saperstein!

The Center for Jewish Civilization invites you to a lecture by Ambassador David Saperstein. RSVP today on our eventbrite!

About the Event 

References to the Holocaust, Hitler and Nazis are often used by politicians, religious leaders and others, in America and across the globe, in justifying their political positions. We see it in discussions on issues ranging from the challenges facing oppressed religious and ethnic groups like the Rohingya, Tibetan Buddhists, and Uighur Muslims in China; abortion; ISIL; Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons; animal rights; the treatment of detained migrants; the nuclear arms race; stem cell research; and most recently, on Israel’s policies. By reviewing and evaluating real examples of ads, speeches, and campaigns, we will try to determine if the Holocaust is so unique it should not be used in political analogies at all. And if it should, what standards should determine when its use is appropriate and when inappropriate?

About the Speaker

Ambassador Saperstein was the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom from January 2015 to January 2017. He is currently an adjunct professor with the Walsh School of Foreign Service’s Center for Jewish Civilization and previously was a senior research fellow of the Religious Freedom Research Project at the Berkley Center. An ordained rabbi, he served for several decades as the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism representing the public policy positions of the Reform Jewish Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry, to the government and leading the movement’s efforts to strengthen social justice programming in synagogues across North America. 

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Lunch will be served prior to the event. RSVP is encouraged.

Any person with an accommodation request is welcome to email us at cjcinfo@georgetown.edu. We will try to meet these accommodation requests to the best of our ability.

A Look Back at “Be Strong and of Good Courage” with Ambassador Dennis Ross

On Tuesday, September 17th, the Center for Jewish Civilization hosted a conversation with Ambassador Dennis Ross about his new book, Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny. Rabbi Harold White Professor of Jewish Civilization and Center Director Jacques Berlinerblau provided opening remarks, noting Ambassador Ross’s “command of both American and Middle Eastern foreign policy, as well as the exigencies of literary non-fiction.”

After his engaging discussion about the legacies of David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon, Ambassador Ross fielded questions from the audience about Israel’s political future. He explained his choice of Israeli political figures which frame his new work and stressed the dual importance of action and inaction as viable policy measures. After the event, he signed copies of his new book, which he co-wrote with David Makovsky. 

About Ambassador Dennis Ross

Ambassador Ross is the Counselor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process within the H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement, successfully brokering the 1997 Hebron Accord, and facilitating the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty.

Ambassador Ross has worked closely with Secretaries of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Madeleine Albright. He was awarded the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Clinton. 

Missed our event?

Have no fear! Ambassador Ross will discuss Be Strong and of Good Courage at Johns Hopkins University on Thursday, September 26th. RSVP for his book talk here.

The CJC Reflects on American Judaism in the Era of the Trump Presidency

Summary

On September 3rd, the Center for Jewish Civilization (CJC) had its first event of the year. The discussion between CJC Professors Ira Forman, Danielle Pletka, Tamara Cofman Wittes and Jacques Berlinerblau was centered on remarks made by President Donald J. Trump about loyal and disloyal Jewish Americans. Trump’s comments triggered anger and denunciations from a broad spectrum of American voices. Crucially, they are triangulated against two salient features of his presidency. First, his tight embrace of the Netenyahu administration, and second, the disturbing rise of white supremacist violence directed against Jews and others in the United States. Center for Jewish Civilization Director Berlinerblau interviewed the three thought leaders, each of whom share extensive knowledge on issues pertaining to the Middle East and American politics. 

Notable Moments

A round-up of notable moments during the event can be found on the CJC’s Twitter account, which includes live tweets published during the event. Follow the hashtag #LoyalDisloyal! Below is a list of standout quotes from the event:

  • “The rise in antisemitic hate crimes, violent and nonviolent, is part of a context in our political discourse which has become corrosive to the bonds that hold us together. What’s happening to make Jewish Americans less secure is happening to America.” – Tamara Cofman Wittes
  • “The Jews are separate from Israel and the Middle East. As much as President Trump seems confused about this, that is 100 percent the truth.” – Danielle Pletka 
  • “With all our problems of antisemitism here, we are the safest Jewish community in the world… Our levels of violence are very low, but that can change. And it’s already had an impact on the psychology of the Jewish community in the United States.” – Ira Forman 

“Loyal/Disloyal?” in the Media

A recap of our event could be found in The Hoya:

Missed the event AND C-Span’s broadcasting of the event? Have no fear! A recording of the event can be found on C-Span’s website, linked here.

About the Speakers

Professor Jacques Berlinerblau is currently the Rabbi Harold White Professor and Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Berlinerblau has published on a wide variety of issues ranging from the composition of the Hebrew Bible, to the sociology of heresy, to modern Jewish intellectuals, to African-American and Jewish-American relations.

Professor Ira Forman is currently the Visiting Professor of Contemporary Antisemitism at Georgetown University and Senior Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Jewish Civilization. He also serves as the Senior Advisor for Combatting Antisemitism at Human Rights First and a Senior Fellow at the Moment Institute. Formerly, Mr. Forman was the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State.

Professor Danielle Pletka is senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she oversees the institution’s work on foreign and defense issues. Ms. Pletka writes regularly on national security matters, with a special focus on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East.

Professor Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution. Wittes served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East during the Arab uprisings. Wittes also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions.

RSVP to “Be Strong and of Good Courage: A Conversation with Ambassador Dennis Ross!”

The Center for Jewish Civilization invites you to join us as we celebrate Amb. Dennis Ross’s and David Makovsky’s book launch. RSVP on the CJC eventbrite today!

About the book: Modern Israel’s founding fathers provided some of the boldest and most principled leadership of any nation. Now Israel needs their example more than ever. At a time when the political destiny of Israel is more uncertain than at any moment since its modern founding, Be Strong and of Good Courage celebrates the defining generation of leaders who took on the task of safeguarding the country’s future.

David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon were all present at the creation of the new nation in 1948. Over the next sixty years, each experienced moments when the country’s existence was directly imperiled. In those moments, Israel needed extraordinary acts of leadership and strategic judgment to secure its future, and these leaders rose to the occasion. The strength they showed allowed them to prevail.

Today, Israel may be on the verge of sacrificing the essential character that its greatest citizens fought to secure. This is the story of that epic struggle.

About the Authors:

Ambassador Dennis Ross is Counselor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process within the H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement, successfully brokering the 1997 Hebron Accord, and facilitating the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty.

Ambassador Ross has worked closely with Secretaries of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Madeleine Albright. He was awarded the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Clinton.

David Makovsky is the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute and director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations. He is also an adjunct professor in Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). In 2013-2014, he worked in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of State, serving as a senior advisor to the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.

Author of numerous Washington Institute monographs and essays on issues related to the Middle East Peace Process and the Arab-Israeli conflict, he is also coauthor, with Dennis Ross, of the 2009 Washington Post bestseller Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking/Penguin). His 2017 interactive mapping project, “Settlements and Solutions,” is designed to help users discover for themselves whether a two-state solution is still viable. His 2011 maps on alternative territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were reprinted by the New York Times in the paper’s first interactive treatment of an op-ed. His widely acclaimed September 2012 New Yorker essay, “The Silent Strike,” focused on the U.S.-Israel dynamics leading up to the 2007 Israeli attack on Syrian nuclear facilities.

Light refreshments will be served prior to the event. RSVP is encouraged.

Any person with an accommodation request is welcome to email us at cjcinfo@georgetown.edu. We will try to meet these accommodation requests to the best of our ability.

RSVP to “Loyal/Disloyal? American Judaism in the Era of the Trump Presidency”

The Center for Jewish Civilization invites you to join us for our dialogue about American Jews in the Era of the Trump Presidency. RSVP today!

President Donald J. Trump’s recent aside about loyal and disloyal Jewish Americans triggered anger and denunciations from a broad spectrum of American voices. Trump’s remarks are triangulated against two salient features of his presidency. First, his tight embrace of the Netenyahu administration, and second, the disturbing rise of white supremacist violence directed against Jews and others in the United States. In this panel discussion, we ask some noted experts and thought leaders on contemporary political issues confronting the Jewish people to reflect on the current moment, and what the president’s “loyal/disloyal” musing portends for the Jewish American community, and the nation at large.

About the Speakers:

Professor Jacques Berlinerblau is currently the Rabbi Harold White Professor and Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Berlinerblau has published on a wide variety of issues ranging from the composition of the Hebrew Bible, to the sociology of heresy, to modern Jewish intellectuals, to African-American and Jewish-American relations.

Professor Ira Forman is currently the Visiting Professor of Contemporary Antisemitism at Georgetown University and Senior Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Jewish Civilization. He also serves as the Senior Advisor for Combatting Antisemitism at Human Rights First and a Senior Fellow at the Moment Institute. Formerly, Mr. Forman was the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State.

Professor Danielle Pletka is senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she oversees the institution’s work on foreign and defense issues. Ms. Pletka writes regularly on national security matters, with a special focus on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East.

Professor Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution. Wittes served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East during the Arab uprisings. Wittes also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions.

RSVP to Loyal/Disloyal on our Eventbrite!

The CJC Reflects Upon the Hate Crime in El Paso

In the wake of this Saturday’s tragic shooting in El Paso, Texas, assumed to have been carried out by a White Supremacist, we think back to our conference, “Contemporary White Supremacy in America.” On April 10, 2019, Father Patrick Desbois (Braman Endowed Professor of the Practice of the Forensic Study of the Holocaust), Christian Picciolini (co-founder of Life After Hate) and Dr. Jacques Berlinerblau (CJC Director) discussed the extremist scourge in the United States. Below, we share a recording of our conversation. 

 

The Off Season: CJC Students Spend Summer Around the Globe

A student’s work doesn’t end with finals. Between internships, fellowships, travel, and jobs, the calmest point of the summer might just be the plane ride home. This summer CJC-ers scattered from the Hilltop in every direction, with destinations ranging from rural Appalachia to cosmopolitan Singapore. The Center for Jewish Civilization prides itself on guiding individual students through the research and application process for internships and jobs. Here’s what a handful of our students have been up to since leaving campus:

Rising Seniors

 

After returning from a semester abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, Tianna Mobley began exploring her interest in public policy as a Public Policy & International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The seven-week program includes preparation for graduate school, a qualitative research methods course, economics, statistics, and a race and policy seminar. As part of the seminar, Tianna is collaborating on a project to analyze the defunding of minority-focused NPOs in the Twin Cities. From this experience, Tianna hopes to determine the best trajectory for graduate school in order to pursue her triple interest in education policy, non-profit management, and academia.


Rachel Angle is spending summer in D.C. working on a research project, which will be the basis of her government thesis. She is looking at the intersection of gender and religion as it manifests itself in the eleven Jewish women of the 116th Congress. Her decision to research this group was inspired by her experience observing the American political conversation around Israel foreign policy after spending a semester studying abroad there. She is hoping to examine how the Jewish and female identities affect the policy priorities of our elected representatives. Rachel is especially interested in any places where these two identities may conflict. Her research is funded by the Kalorama Fellowship.

 

Anya Ahuja is working as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst at Lazard in New York. Her internship serves as a rigorous introduction to investment banking, specifically within the Private Capital Advisory (PCA) group. PCA raises capital, executes secondary transactions, and provides capital for private investment funds.


Zachary Thompson is in Kenya doing clinical research. Specifically, he is collecting samples to be screened for tuberculosis. His team is compiling data about the total number of tuberculosis cases and the total number of drug resistant cases in Kisumu county, located on Lake Victoria.

 

Jake Galant is working at the United States Embassy in Prague. With the Public Affair Section, Jake engages Czech citizens and spreads American values through speakers, cultural events, and grants. As pictured, Jake recently helped the American Ambassador at an event to mark the beginning of a basketball camp run by two former NBA players in Kralupy nad Vitavou.

 

Tanner Larkin is a Goldman Fellow with the American Jewish Committee in Washington, D.C. This fellowship is designed to develop future leaders in the areas of international and domestic politics, diplomacy, public relations and management. Within AJC, Tanner is working with Project Interchange, an Institute which brings global decision-makers to Israel to learn about its reality and complexity first-hand. Tanner is also studying for the LSAT and plans on attending law school after graduation.

 

Rising Juniors

 

Marie-Ann Wells‘s passion for education and Veterans’ affairs has led her to an internship in the Director’s Office at the Smithsonian National Museum for Natural History in D.C. Her responsibilities include organizing and assisting with a variety of projects that focus on enhancing diversity, inclusion, and equity at the museum. Her favorite project thus far has been visiting the Veteran Curation Program, which provides employment, vocational training, and technology skills to veterans returning to the job market. Marie-Ann looks forward to using her newly-developed skills in her future service as a commissioned officer in the United States Military.

 

Cheyenne Martin is getting her hands dirty (and probably building lots of muscle) in Appalachia this summer. A student in the College of Arts and Sciences during the year, Cheyenne is learning mechanical engineering outside the classroom. In addition to rebuilding a motorcycle, she is unearthing and restoring mechanical objects such as lawnmowers and lamps left to decay in the wake of a devastating local flood in 2010. In her free time, Cheyenne is repairing homes.

 

Rising Sophomores

 

Yebin Won is currently working in Singapore as a Research Intern at the Asian Trade Centre, a think tank and business consulting organization specializing in all things trade-related in Asia. Specifically, she has been researching various FTAs (Free Trade Agreements/Areas), CPTPP’s impact on Asia-Pacific SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), and business potential for multinational corporations in the ASEAN region.


Zev Burton is interning for the US Green Building Council in the Department of their CEO in D.C. The US Green Building Council gives out the premier sustainability certification of green building processes and management. Zev is creating and applying their market research and development communications strategy to further their reach in the US, then is working with the CEO and his team to put it into action. Much to the chagrin of the facilities team, Zev’s cubicle is loaded with whiteboards detailing different strategies. He looks forward to helping create a sustainable and environmentally-friendly country.

Recap: Contemporary White Supremacy in America

Contemporary White Supremacy in America: What are its links to the Nazi Past?

On Wednesday, April 10, the Center for Jewish Civilization hosted at the National Press Club its premiere Spring conference. This year’s event was titled “Contemporary White Supremacy in America: What are its links to the Nazi Past,” and featured a number of academics and practitioners. Notable speakers included Christian Picciolini, Kristen Clarke, and Seyward Darby.

The event kicked-off with a conversation between Father Patrick Desbois, the President of Yahad-In Unum, and Christian Picciolini, the co-founder of Life after Hate and the author of White America Youth: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out. The conversation was moderated by CJC’s Director Jacques Berlinerblau.

From Left to Right: Dr. Jacques Berlinerblau, Father Patrick Desbois, and Christian Picciolini

Both speakers brought unique perspectives from their work and lives, covering topics from white supremacy in America to extremists movements such as ISIS. Father Desbois offered the perspective of a historian and forensic expert, drawing from his extensive years of research spent recording the oral histories of the Holocaust by Bullets and his additional work interviewing victims of the Yazidi genocide. Christian Picciolini, as a former skinhead, drew upon his past experiences and current-day work in de-radicalizing white supremacists. Though their combined work spanned regions and decades, the similarities they illustrated between different extremist movements was particularly interesting. One notable moment was when Picciolini and Desbois discussed how studies into extremist groups have placed too much emphasis on “hate” when analyzing those communities. Extremist groups, though founded on a premise of hate, stay together because of the emotional bonds made between hate-group members through the artificial constructions of “us” versus “them.”  

“A pure hate group is a mistake in [the] analysis,” said Father Desbois, to which Mr. Picciolini responded, “Hate is exhausting.”

Christian Picciolini and Father Desbois’ panel was then followed by “Nazi anti-Semitism from 1939 to the Alt-Right.” In that panel, Andrej Umansky, the CJC’s Braman Endowed Fellow of the Practice of the Forensic Study of the Holocaust, joined fellow panelist Norman Goda, the Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies (University of Florida) for an in-depth discussion that made thematic connections between Nazi Germany and modern neo-Nazi and alt-Right movements of today. Their panel was moderated by Wendy Lower, the John K. Roth Professor History and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College. Lower is also the author of the acclaimed book Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, which reviews the role of ordinary German women on Nazi Eastern Front. During the panel, Norman Goda talked about the relationship between the media and white-supremacist movements, explaining how for white supremacists the connections between anti-Semitism and building a wall at the American southern border is clear in the mind of the extremist, but is difficult to articulate in day-to-day reporting.

During the lunch session, the Center for Jewish Civilization was thrilled to have Kristen Clarke, the President and Executive Director of the National Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, give the keynote lecture of the conference. Clarke spoke about the work that she and her organization have done in the pursuit of civil rights in her speech titled “Confronting 21st Century White Nationalism.” Clarke also highlighted programs such as Election Protection and the Stop Hate Project, which moves policy into the practitioner sphere by connecting her organization to communities in need.

The afternoon sessions kicked off with a panel on “The Music of White Power, the Music of Nazi Germany: Strategies of Recruitment and Propaganda,” and was moderated by the CJC’s Assistant Professor Dr. Jessica Roda. Kirsten Dyck, an Affiliate Adjunct Professor in the Department of History (James Madison University) and J. Mackenzie Pierce, a visiting fellow at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, comprised the panel. Their conversation was an ethnomusicological approach to how music and musical performance was (and is) used as a tool in white supremacist movements.

The penultimate panel of the day, “Women, White Power Movements, and the Holocaust,” was chaired by the Associate Director for the Center for Jewish Civilization, Anna Sommer. She was joined by Seyward Darby, the Editor in Chief of The Atavist Magazine, and Wendy Lower. Their panel covered the role of women in far-right movements and touched upon online communities of women that connect through shared social experiences.

From Left to Right: Seyward Darby, Wendy Lower, and Anna Sommer

In addition, the panel discussed how women, as a whole, are often integral to social movements–the far-right movement being no exception, regardless of that movement’s normally negative views of women. For some women in white supremacist movements, gender identity matters less than their connection to their race. As Seyward Darby–who in addition to being the Editor in Chief of the Atavist has also interviewed a number of women involved in far-right movements–said, “There’s an impulse to look at the misogyny of white nationalism and assume that women don’t want to be around that…[it] assumes that a woman’s gender is the thing that she’s going to be most protective of. For a white woman, it might be her race.”

The last panel of the day, a fiery discussion about the “The Democratic Prospect: Thinking About America’s Democracy in Light of the Populist Movement,” was moderated by Danielle Pletka, a visiting lecturer at the CJC and the Senior Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. She was joined Harvard University’s Associate Professor from the Department of Sociology, Bart Bonikowski, and Benjamin Hett, a Professor of History at Hunter College and the Graduate Center at CUNY. Their conversation covered a range of divisive topics, such as global populism and the Trump administration, social perceptions of political movements, and right-wing/left-wing political divides in media.

Closing statements were given by Senior Fellow and Assistant Director for Jewish Civilization, Ira Forman. Forman, who served as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism, provided an overview of the days events and the common thematics that the panels had pursued throughout the day. Such thematics included the role of community building in alt-right movements, social media as a platforms for mobilization, and similarities between extremist groups in different countries.

The Center for Jewish Civilization would like to thank all of our panelists and attendees for making this an incredibly successful and engaging conference.

CJC-er of the Month: Gabriela A. Barrera

When she first arrived at Georgetown, it was her passion for literature and the humanities that drove Gabriela Barrera to take the “Fictions of Politics and International Relations” proseminar with CJC Director, Jacques Berlinerblau. At the time, her intention was actually to minor in English or Creative Writing—in part to balance her more technical International Politics major in the SFS. What she found in the proseminar, her first CJC course, however, was that the Center offered her a good middle ground between her interests in the humanities and political science.

Gabriela in the CJC lounge, in front of the wall she wallpapered.
Gabriela in the CJC lounge, in front of the wall she wallpapered.

While in the CJC, Gabriela has enjoyed humanities courses like David Ebenbach’s “Fiction Writing Workshop,” Sarah Workman’s “Jewish Pop Culture,” and Meital Orr’s “Introduction to Jewish Civilization.” She has also taken CJC courses on the Holocaust and is currently taking “Holocaust and Geopolitics.”

In these Holocaust courses, Gabriela has appreciated the individualistic approach the CJC takes to the subject—“a perspective that has become so much more important as time continues to separate us from the event.” In this unique approach, these courses avoid the “impersonality” of some of her politics courses at Georgetown.

To further examine the interpersonal aspects of the Holocaust, Gabriela has participated in the CJC Holocaust Forensics Trip with Yahad-in-Unum twice. On her first trip during her Sophomore spring to Belarus and Poland, Gabriela found that “the importance that Father Desbois and his team put on preserving individual stories supplied a dignity to survivors and witnesses that was oftentimes absent in other forms of historical analysis.” Upon her return, the trip inspired her to refocus her studies towards post-conflict development and civil-military relations.

Gabriela and her peers pose for a photo after listening to a Lviv-based survivor (left of Father Desbois) recount his story.

Her second trip to Ukraine impacted her in a different way: “The necessity to educate, to inform, and to preserve memory about the Holocaust has become more demanding, more urgent.” Gabriela reflects that navigating the memory of the Holocaust has become more complicated due to its politicization. This politicization has led to “competing narratives between Ukrainian, Polish, and Jewish identities that fluctuate in and out of conflict with domestic political interests.”

The difference between her experience Sophomore year and Senior year was in part due to the varying itineraries. Sophomore year, a visit to Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau forced Gabriela to reconcile the Holocaust with “what was left behind.” This spring in Ukraine, however, Gabriela was challenged by the question of how to memorialize the lesser known and more “invisible” sites of the Holocaust: “To the untrained eye, there is no surface-level difference between a mass grave and the local park. To be told, standing beneath the swaying birch trees, that thousands of Jews had been murdered in the field where we stood, was for me, incomprehensible.”

Father Desbois provides a side-by-side comparison between archival footage and modern landmarks in Lviv, Ukraine.

Although these experiences have been challenging, Gabriela has found them enriching. Her time at the CJC has been central to her Georgetown experience. The prospect of graduating two months from now is a challenge “when that also means leaving the Center for Jewish Civilization.” Looking beyond graduation, however, it is clear that the lessons from the CJC will stay with her as a reminder that “As a civil servant, I must hold myself and my peers accountable in the development and practice of the law. There are no excuses that justify ignorance in the face of calamity, or inaction when there is injustice.”

The Forensics Trip students stop to reflect upon the morning and enjoy a lunch in Ternopil, Ukraine.