jewish community leaders vary from the spiritual to the practical. the world jewish congress is a practical body which has a unique president, mr. ronald lauder.
mr. lauder is a no nonsense billionaire who is not afraid to take use his checkbook to make a moral point. mr. lauder is becoming an “amazon book store” that actually does good. he is going to distribute a book he deems important in a big way. he is going to give the book to everyone who lives in a tennessee county. 53,794 copies! nypost.com
mr. lauder also made the time to send the book to a place where it was desperately needed. the tv show, “the view” who has whoopi goldberg as a host. they will be receiving copies from him as well.
the book has become a source of controversy in mcminn county, tennesse. the book entitled “maus” is a graphic novel which provides a biographical account of the holocaust. the graphic novel contains depictions of nudity and violence. it also contains profanity. “maus” tells art spiegelman’s parents’ experience in the auschwitz concentration camp.
the mcminn country school board, for jr. high school curriculum, remove the book “maus.” they were concerned over the nudity, violence and profanity. from the reporting, there is no indication that the book was ordered removed from the library.
the school board clearly had concerns. other school boards have been hit with allegations of allowing books depicting pedophilia to be allowed in school libraries. thus, outsiders should respect the fact that this school board is tasked to make difficult decisions.
thus, while on a curriculum level “maus” may not be acceptable, the book may be something that a child, working with their parents, can read and appreciate together.
with this, another positive move took place. mr. spiegelman, the author, spoke to members of the tennessee county. an honest discussion was offered when “spiegelman acknowledged that he himself has mixed feelings about his illustrated holocaust memoir being used in middle schools as “auschwitz for beginners.”” he opined that they “want a fuzzier, warmer, more gentler holocaust that shows how great the americans were when coming in to liberate.”
the jta reported “the jewish federation of greater chattanooga, 50 miles away, brought the artist to virtually speak to the community, and to the more than 10,000 registered zoom guests and more who tuned in on facebook live.” jta noted that it was “moderated by a jewish local comics historian, jacque nodell, and whitney kimball coe, director of the rural policy group rural assembly, spiegelman fielded a handful of student-submitted questions.” jta.org
in sum, while mr. lauder’s move is admirable. other organization have done the outreach and created a true teaching and learning moment in the community. with the author’s participation in the dialogue, the book distribution will be a positive one. thus, mr. lauder, along with others, made a maus-terpiece move.
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