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Holocaust survivor, Torah scholar will speak

April  16, 2012

Agnes Schwartz

Augustana College hosts back-to-back lectures on April 23-24 to engage the campus and Quad-Cities community in the study of Jewish history, religion and culture. Both lectures are free.

On April 23, at 7:30 p.m., Agnes Schwartz, a Holocaust survivor originally from Hungary, will deliver the annual Geifman Lecture in Wallenberg Hall inside Denkmann Memorial Hall (3520 7th Ave.). Interestingly enough, Schwartz’ father was one of the thousands of Jews whom Raoul Wallenberg is credited with saving near the end of WWII.

When Nazi forces occupied Hungary in 1944, Schwartz was forced to move into a ghetto. When she was 10, the family maid took her in as her “niece” who was fleeing from the Russian army. Her mother was deported, and she perished at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Her father hid in one of Wallenberg’s safe houses. In 1947, Schwartz at the age of 13 immigrated to the United States with her father, settling in Chicago.

Schwartz’ presentation is sponsored by Augustana’s Geifman Endowment in Judaica, funded by Gerry and Morris M. Geifman. The endowment supports the college's acquisition of information materials in Judaic studies and culture, as well as providing for guest lecturers and student scholarships and awards.

Dr. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg

On April 24, at 7:30 p.m., Torah scholar Dr. Avivah Zornberg will present “Why Did Sarah Laugh?” in Wallenberg Hall for the college’s annual Stone Lectureship on Judaism. She will speak about the psychological and literary nuances of the Sarah and Abraham story. Dr. Zornberg is an acclaimed Torah scholar, educator and writer. Based in Jerusalem, she teaches and lectures in Israel, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Dr. Zornberg grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, where her father was a rabbi and the head of the Rabbinical Court. She studied with him from childhood; he was her most important teacher of the Torah. She holds a bachelor’s and doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University. After teaching English literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, she turned to teaching the Torah.

Dr. Zornberg has appeared on Bill Moyers’ “Genesis: A Living Conversation” and on public radio with Krista Tippett’s program “On Being.”

The Stone Lectureship in Judaism is sponsored by an endowment established in 1938 in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Alex B. Stone of Rock Island. The lectureship seeks to increase awareness of Jewish culture and history, including how Judaism has contributed to the traditions of Western culture.

Sam Schlouch
Director, Public Relations and Arts Promotion
(309) 794-7833
samschlouch@augustana.edu