This past week, Rambam Mesivta had the privilege to host renowned Jewish History professor Dr. Raphael Medoff. Dr. Medoff specializes in the Holocaust and is the author of numerous works on the subject, including The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust and FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith.
Before the main assembly, the Meet the Author Book Club, Writers’ Guild, and Rabbi Yotav Eliach’s Zionism class were invited downstairs to meet with Dr. Medoff in a more intimate setting and talk with him about his writing and publishing process. Dr. Medoff spoke about how a book can take several years to write, and the process of publishing it can sometimes take another three years!
Dr. Medoff has also edited several books. Dovid Edelkopf, Rambam Onion Editor, asked him how he was “able to maintain the unique voice of the specific authors” without forcing his own editorial “voice” to take over the book. Dr. Medoff shared that it was, indeed, a challenge, but that he knows from his own books just how important it is to strike that balance.
Following this discussion, the rest of the school came downstairs to the Shul for the main assembly. Dr. Medoff spoke to the school about the portrayal of the Holocaust in political cartoons in the United States. He discussed the historical significance and talent involved in designing the cartoons, and how they helped to shape the discourse in a way that now, with the 24/7 news-cycle, is hard to fathom.
After his presentation, Dr. Medoff took questions from the students leading into a discussion of immigration policies against the Jews in the 1930s vis-à-vis the immigration debate of today.
The speaker was erudite, funny, and informative, and certainly lived up to his reputation as a premier writer and speaker.