EAST BRUNSWICK, NJEast Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) presents the fourth annual installment in the series “The Jews of Eastern Europe Before The Holocaust” on April 30 at 2:30 pm. This year’s program focuses on the Jews of Belarus and the Baltic States.

The multi-media event of lectures and music will explore the long history and rich culture of the region’s Jews.  Rabbi Esther Reed, Senior Associate Director of Hillel at Rutgers University, will preview the series, the program, and the participants.  Professor Glenn Dynner of the Sarah Lawrence College faculty, and a member of the Princeton Institute of Advanced Study, will review the history of Jewish life in the major cities of Belarus and the Baltic States, such as Grodno, Minsk, Bialystok, Kovno, and Chagall’s birthplace, Vitebsk.  Rabbi Joshua Finkelstein of the East Brunswick Jewish Center will offer reflections on the region’s passed-down heritage. 

Dr. Tamara Freeman, an ethnomusicologist, will lead the program’s selections of traditional and classical compositions.  Michael Kesler, tenor, Susan Hornstein, alto, Donna Messer, recorder player, Deborah Gerber, vocalist, and David Schlossberg, pianist, will join Tamara. 

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“This series brings to light the deep roots and rich history and culture of the Jews in several Eastern European countries where they had a significant presence before their catastrophic extermination by the Germans and their allies,” said Michael G. Kesler, who has organized the annual event.  Since his retirement in 2006, Kesler has written extensively of his and his late wife’s experiences during World War II. 


This program is sponsored by the East Brunswick Public Library, the Karma Foundation, the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, and the East Brunswick Jewish Center.