The Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish-Christian Studies will honor founding member and Chairman emerita Luna Kaufman on Sunday, December 2 at a special program during which she will present her collection of personal memorabilia to Seton Hall University’s Walsh Library. The program will take place at the University’s Jubilee Hall Auditorium on its South Orange campus, beginning at 3 PM.
Ms. Kaufman, a community activist and author, is a survivor of three Nazi work camps. Her legacy, a collection of European, Israeli and American artifacts, personal possessions, documents, awards and artwork reflects a lifetime blessed with achievement and touched by tragedy. Among the items Ms. Kaufman will bestow upon Walsh Library are archival materials from the dedication of New Jersey’s Liberty Park Monument commemorating the rescue of Holocaust survivors and papers from her work with the New Jersey State Opera. Additional items are from Ms. Kaufman’s research and personal records used as she wrote her published memoir, Luna’s Life, as well as those reflecting her accomplishments as president of Temple Sholom in Plainfield.
“Luna’s decision to offer Seton Hall this impressive collection is of great consequence to both the University and the Sister Rose Thering Fund,” said Dr. David Bossman, Executive Director of the Fund (SRTF). “Her life experience has included the darkest days of the 20th century, as well as many of its most remarkable triumphs. Each piece in the archive has great meaning, not only to Luna Kaufman’s extraordinary life, but also to the history that surrounded her. And each piece, in its own right, tells an important story. The Sister Rose Thering Fund is proud of the integral role it has played in making it possible for Luna to present her legacy to Walsh Library’s permanent collection.”
Paul Gibbons, Chairman of the Sister Rose Thering Fund, is responsible for creating the concept of Ms. Kaufman’s archival dedication. Seton Hall University Dean of Libraries John E. Buschman will accept Ms. Kaufman’s collection on behalf of the institution.
The afternoon program will include the conferral of a Sister Rose Thering Fund award on The Honorable Brendan T. Byrne, former Governor of New Jersey. In addition, Dr. Jason Tramm will conduct a performance of Polish-born composer and Israel Broadcasting Authority producer Edmund (Eddie) Halpern’s cantata, To Remember It All, on the 30th anniversary of its premiere at Temple Sholom in 1982. Daniel Neiden, Ms. Kaufman’s son-in-law, will perform Naomi Shemer’s “Jerusalem of Gold,” and her grandchildren will take part in reading a letter written to their grandmother by Nina Wolmark, whose father, sculptor Natan Rapoport, created the Holocaust memorial The Flame, currently exhibited at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan and Liberation, located at Liberty State Park, Jersey City.
Amalia Luna Fuss was born in Poland in 1926 to a fourth-generation Krakow family. Luna, with her parents Marek and Maria, along with her sister Niusia, were interned in the Krakow Ghetto, then sent to the Plaszow, Hasag-Skarzysko and Leipzig concentration camps. Niusia, deported to Stutthof concentration camp, died there, and their father Marek was killed at Auschwitz. Luna and her mother remained together for the duration of the Holocaust, returning to Krakow following liberation. Luna completed her education, graduating with a college degree in musicology in 1950. That same year, she and her mother emigrated to Israel, where Luna married Alex Kaufman in 1951. Their three children, Bernice, Mark and Irene, were born in the United States. Her mother joined the family from Israel in 1957. From the time of her arrival, Ms. Kaufman’s life in America has included involvement in political and religious organizations, business endeavors and the earliest days of Holocaust education. She worked for the 1980 Winter Olympics, and served as president of the New Jersey State Opera, as well as and on the Mayor’s Task Force for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Seton Hall University conferred a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, upon Ms. Kaufman in 2009. In 2011, Bronislaw Komorowski, president of Poland, presented her with a Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit in recognition of her “exceptional contribution” to Polish-Jewish dialogue.
Luna Kaufman and Sister Rose Thering met in the 1970s. In 1992, Sister Rose asked Ms. Kaufman to serve as a founding member of the Sister Rose Thering Endowment for Jewish-Christian Studies, now named the Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish Christian Studies.
The December 2 program is free and open to the public. For additional information, log onto the Sister Rose Thering Fund website, http://www.shu.edu/academics/artsci/sister-rose-thering/ or contact the Fund office, 973-761-9006 or SRTF@shu.edu.