Manhattan College was founded by the De La Salle Christian Brothers in 1853. The College moved from Manhattan to the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area of the Bronx in 1923.  In the 1960s, after the Vatican II document “Nostra Aetate,” the New York Diocese and the Anti Defamation League planned to work together to improve Catholic-Jewish relations. The Archbishop requested that Manhattan College prepare for him a 60 page summary about Judaism. A young history professor, Frederick M. Schweitzer, was assigned the task. The 60 pages became a 300 page book, and a professor found his life’s work. Dr. Schweitzer’s study of Judaism, Anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust led to 4 books, numerous articles and lectures, and in 1996 the founding of the Manhattan College Holocaust Resource Center.   The Manhattan College Holocaust Resource Center grew out of discussions between concerned faculty and administrators at the College led by Rose Santos-Cunningham, Brother Peter Drake, F. S. C., and Frederick Schweitzer and members of the Riverdale community, most notably Martin Spett, Lou Falkenstein, and the late Martin Richman during the 1995-1996 academic year. The Center's Charter was approved by the President of the College, Brother Thomas Scanlan, F. S. C. in 1996.

      Dr. Schweitzer, the first Director of the Holocaust Resource Center, engaged in outreach to the Jewish community, scheduled lectures by Holocaust scholars, and conducted workshops for area teachers.  He was later assisted by Dr. Jeff, a history professor, who became Director in 2007 after Dr. Schweitzer retired and became Director Emeritus.  Dr. Horn was assisted by two Assistant Directors, Barbara Reynolds, a retired teacher from Fordham Prep, and Martha Frazer, a former interviewer for Stephen Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual Project.  

     Dr. Jeff Horn continued the Center's lecture series, brining in world renowned scholars such as Samantha Powers, and Christopher Browning  He also created a DVD project in which Manhattan College students, trained by him and by Ms. Frazer, interviewed Holocaust survivors, and then edited the tapes for viewing by high school and middle school students.  These DVDs were distributed all over the country.  Ms. Reynolds acted as a teacher liaison. She continued workshops to introduce teachers to methods, such as the use of oral history or the use of picture books, for bringing state mandated Holocaust education into local classrooms, and she also arranged exhibits of Holocaust art.  Ms. Frazer acted as a liaison to the local community.  She also created the Second Generation Project at the Center.

     Dr. Mehnaz M. Afridi, assistant professor of Religious Studies, was appointed Director of the Center in 2011.  As a Muslim woman she specializes in Islam and the Holocaust.  The Center, its mission expanded, is now known as the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center.  In addition to events for the campus community, the Center schedules two to three lectures a year, one on the Holocaust, one on Genocide and an interfaith one.  Its community outreach includes a speakers bureau, led since 1996 by Martin Spett, and interfaith activities in which College students, local community and New York City members work together.

 

 

 

 

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Previous events

"My Dear Boy” Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Joanie Holzer Schirm is a retired CEO who, in many ways, represents the new face of retirement. She’s still learning, still growing, still active in her community, and still working. Only these days, Joanie is working on a passion project and winning awards like the Global Ebook Award for Best Biography and Book Trailer (for her first book, Adventurers Against Their Will). At the heart of her book series, including My Dear Boy, which was named a finalist in a Book of the Year contest, is a collection of WWII letters, documents, and objects that serve as witnesses to history. Known as the Holzer Collection for which Joanie serves as an archivist, the secret treasure trove preserved by her father, Dr. Oswald Holzer, tells a refugee story with powerful relevance for today. Classrooms across America and Europe feature lesson plans that accompany her books. Public exhibitions have highlighted Holzer Collection objects in Orlando, Frankfurt, and Prague. “My father gave me a lot throughout my life, but this unexpected gift is the most important—the gift of memory—the gift that became his legacy. His story empowered me to become a driving force for change – changing the world to appreciate the richness we gain from our diversity and to understand the perils of remaining silent when our neighbors are in trouble. From a place of profound sadness to a sanctuary of bright hope, I’ve learned that if we understand the past, it can guide us forward to a better world.” Please register and join us via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZclcOiqqTgrHtGwzTBcsL16gbfGtvhP4LwG

Opening the Qur’an: Exploring Muslim Devotional Life

The first seven lines of the Qur’an, known as al-Fatiha, are possibly the most frequently recited verses of the Qur’an. This talk explores the importance of these lines in the lives of Muslims, incorporating calligraphy, theology, music, and theology. Prophet Muhammad said that all of the knowledge of the Qur’an is found in these verses. The ways in which Muslims have explored the depths of al-Fatiha allows us to have a glimpse at the breadth of Muslim devotional life. 

Hussein Rashid, PhD is a freelance academic, currently affiliated with several universities in New York City. He is a scholar of religion, focusing on Muslims and US popular culture. He is also the founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency. He co-edited a book on Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel called Ms. Marvel’s America. He is currently co-editing a volume on Islam and Popular Culture, and another volume on Islam in North America. He is also co-authoring a cultural history of Muslims in America. His current projects include an independent film, a documentary, and a museum project on religion and jazz. He worked with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan as a content expert on their exhibit “America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far.” You can find out more at http://www.husseinrashid.com

Please register and join us via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqceGtrjooEtezb56W-_LCfS1nqqYuSfb6

A Conversation: White Nationalism, Antisemitism, and Racism

A conversation with Claudia Setzer, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies, and Eric Ward, Executive Director of Western States Center about White Nationalism, Antisemitism, and Racism.

Please register for the event and join us via zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrc-uqqDkrEtxA4ghg5zx2WqCg3c0RJGik

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