By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center will present its 10th L’Chaim fundraiser Aug. 22, livestreaming it from Red Mountain Theatre’s new arts campus and offering a blend of local talent with world-renowned speakers to create a celebration of life.
Sponsored by Medical Properties Trust, the annual event will honor the memory of the BHEC’s founder, the late Phyllis Grusin Weinstein.
Host for the festivities will be Birmingham native Alison Goldstein Lebovitz, TV host of The A List with Alison Lebovitz.
Co-produced by RMT Executive Director Keith Cromwell and BHEC board member Deborah Layman, the festivities will offer a combination of musical and theatrical entertainment, education and remembrance.
The program also will feature a conversational one-on-one interview with Wolf Blitzer by Birmingham resident Esther Schuster. Blitzer, host of CNN’s The Situation Room, is the son of Holocaust survivors.
Performances will include a collaboration with the Red Mountain Performing Ensemble and special guests, including Mountain Brook native Alie B. Gorrie.
Honoring Its Founder
Weinstein was honoree for the first L’Chaim event in 2012. She passed away in early January at the age of 100.
An official statement from the BHED said, “Weinstein’s particular gift as a leader was to bring others along on the way and get them involved. She mentored a generation of Jewish leaders in Birmingham. She recruited, she taught, she inspired, she steered, she insisted. The Birmingham community continues to reap the benefits of Phyllis’ leadership through the many leaders she has mentored.”
Her work to establish the BHEC began in 1984, when she was a charter member of the Alabama State Holocaust Advisory Council, later known as the Alabama Holocaust Commission.
In 2002, she established a sub-committee of the Alabama Holocaust Commission, dubbed the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee, with a group of like-minded citizens. This committee became known as the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in 2011.
When asked why she worked so hard to preserve the history and lessons of the Holocaust, she answered, “It was something that needed to be done.”
Weinstein served as a community mentor, teacher, advocate and leader throughout the local Jewish community. She was involved in the Birmingham Chapter of Hadassah, Collat Jewish Family Services, the Birmingham Jewish Federation and the federation’s Community Relations Committee.
She spearheaded the founding of the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, which continues to educate children in a building it shares with the Levite Jewish Community Center.
Beyond her local Jewish community, she served on the board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and worked hand-in-hand with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on projects that involved partnerships between African-American and Jewish communities.
The BHEC continues its founding mission to educate the public about the history and lessons of the Holocaust in an effort to create a more just and compassionate world that recognizes the dignity, potential and humanity of every individual.
The organization is a leader in Holocaust education, providing professional development for teachers throughout the state. In addition, the organization offers scholarships to advance national and international seminars on Holocaust education and provides speakers, exhibits and resources to schools, universities, corporations and civic groups across Alabama at no cost.
To view the upcoming fundraiser online or to make a donation, visit bheclchaim.swell.gives