History and Significance in the Annual Babi Yar Memorial

On Sunday, September 27th, the Mizel Museum will host the Annual Babi Yar Memorial at Babi Yar Park in Denver. This ceremony specifically remembers the more than 200,000 people massacred at the Babi Yar ravine outside of Kiev, Ukraine, from 1941 to 1943, but is ultimately a memorial for all lives lost during the Holocaust.


Entrance pathway to Babi Yar Park

The creation of a space in Denver dedicated to the lives lost at the Babi Yar ravine began as the idea of the Committee of Concern for Soviet Jewry, a group of Jewish residents of Denver who, among other initiatives, wanted to raise public awareness of the atrocities that occurred outside Kiev. Initially they requested naming rights to a street, but circumstances led them to the creation of a living memorial instead, Babi Yar Park. Larry A. Mizel, founder of the Mizel Museum, was an early supporter of the park’s creation, and when it came time to transition stewardship of the park away from the Babi Yar Park Foundation to a more permanent organization, the Mizel Museum was a logical choice.

The Mizel Museum is proud and honored to be a steward of the park, and is committed to using the park to continue educating about and honoring the victims of the Babi Yar massacre. It is with this education and memorialization in mind that we host the annual Babi Yar memorial. We want to take this opportunity to explain why our remembrance ceremony is designed the way it is.

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Studying the Soviet Shtetl

Yalen_pic_Katz_Center_Spring_2015 (002)Dr. Deborah Yalen, the speaker for this year’s Annual Babi Yar Remembrance Ceremony, gives us an insight into her research motivations, the obstacles she faces, and what she thinks is the most important take away from her work.

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From the Museum to Matzah Ball Soup: An Interview With Sheldon Sands

Sheldon Sands, one of the musicians in our upcoming concert, Opa! A Night of Soulful Sounds From Athens to Jerusalem,  was kind enough to sit down with me and answer a few questions about the featured bands and his own musical background.

Sherefe Trio

Photo: Sherefe Trio

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The Power of Place: Chappell House

By Guest Blogger Suzanne Shapiro

In 1936, where was DU’s School of Art located? In Chappell House. In 1936, where was the Denver Art Museum located? In Chappell House. The DU students were exposed to the diverse exhibits in the DAM galleries. For me, personally, it was a bonanza in that I was able to work for pay in both places, between my classes. I did clerical work for the school and at times, the museum employed me as a receptionist.

Since we in the student body at Chappell House were isolated from the main DU campus on Evans, we felt like a family. We drew art together, we grew in maturity together, we lunched together, we joked together, and we made many warm memories together.

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Place Matters – Exhibition at the Buell Theatre

By Georgina Kolber, Curator of Exhibits, Collections and Programs

By now you’ve heard and seen that we’ve taken up the theme, The Power of Place, for our current programming. We live on planet Earth, which has continued to provide a tangible foundation and backdrop for all of our everyday dramas, so we don’t necessarily recognize the role of place — whether it be Earth or a place more specific — in our everyday routines. But if we stop to think about it, places connect us to the past, situate memory, shape identity and host all of our activities. Specific and significant places have also existed within the human imagination as far back as we know — paradise, hell and a plethora of utopias. And then all of us conjure up places in our dreams — places sometimes vaguely familiar and other times completely unrecognizable. There are so many manifestations of The Power of Place in our human experience, and I wanted the exhibition I’ve been putting together for the Buell Theatre, to reflect that abundance.

RWR 1 manywomenstripes(safdie)2

Michal Ronnen Safdie. RWR1, 2007-2011. Ultrachrome print. 16 x 24 inches. Edition of 7. Image courtesy of Michal Ronnen Safdie and Andrea Meislin Gallery.

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The Power of Place: My 65th High School Reunion

By Guest Blogger Ellie Miller Greenberg

The 65th anniversary
Of anything
Is significant.

But the 65th reunion
Of my high school graduation class
Was especially significant
For me.

It meant
That I would return
To New Jersey,
From Colorado,
Where I had lived
For 60 years.

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Uprooted and Resettled: Stories of CO Immigrant and Refugee Youth

CNP logo no tagBy Jan C. Nadav, Director of Education and Interpretation

“That was the best language arts class ever!”
“I had a blast!”
“This was really fun and I hope to see this program again!”
“That was a great experience.”
“More poetry!”
“I learned so much about myself and my assumptions.”
“I loved the stories about kids my age.”

Migrating to a new country, learning a new language and assimilating to a new culture is never easy, but it happens every day in the United States. Most come to join family members or seek better employment opportunities. Still others come to this country to escape persecution. These individuals are known as refugees, and they have often faced tremendous hardships like genocide, religious and political persecution and war. They leave their native country in order to survive, and the journey they endure and the challenges they face in adapting to their new lives is often inspiring, but not always recognized nor understood by the communities they join.
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Enriched, Ennobled, Encouraged: Creative Journeys Summer Camps

girl at summer campBy Jan C. Nadav, Director of Education & Interpretation

Leonard Bernstein wrote:

“The point is, art never stopped a war and never got anybody a job. That was never its function. Art cannot change events. But it can change people. It can affect people so that they are changed…because people are changed by art – enriched, ennobled, encouraged – they then act in a way that may affect the course of events…by the way they vote, they behave, the way they think.”

This relates to what we do best at Mizel Museum. We create opportunities for people to break through to new understandings of themselves and the world around them, through the power of the arts. Over the last five years, I have seen widespread evidence of this – something I call “perceptual change.” Continue reading

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What’s a Non-Jew Doing Working at a Jewish Museum?

goyfromillinois By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

When I accepted this position at the Mizel Museum in July 2013, I was incredibly excited about the work. As with any news I’m remotely excited about, I told everyone who would listen. After hearing I’d be working for a Jewish museum, the first question people would ask was a variation of, “Wait, are you Jewish?” I would say no, and their expression would remain a perplexed one. Of course I knew what they were puzzled by: what’s a non-Jew doing working at a Jewish museum? Are you allowed to do that? Do they know you’re not Jewish?
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First Thing’s First: What’s a Goy?

goyfromillinois By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

Before I post about anything else, I want to first address the name of this column: “Goy From Illinois.” Before I came to work for the Mizel Museum, I didn’t know the word “goy.” I can’t remember how I learned it, but it’s likely that I first saw it in this really cute book called “Yiddish with Dick and Jane.” It contains a story of Dick and Jane, with many Yiddish words throughout the story and defined in the glossary. We’ll have to learn about Yiddish together later, but for now, let’s concentrate on one word: “goy.” Continue reading

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