Monday, June 1, 2015

A Conversation with Luna Kaufman

The NY Arts & Sciences Salon was honored to host a conversation with educator and activist, Luna Kaufman. A tireless champion of interfaith understanding, she continues to spread awareness of the atrocities of the past to ensure a future in which genocides no longer occur.

Born in Poland in 1926, Luna Kaufman (nee Luna Fuss) and her family were interned in the Cracow Ghetto before being deported first to the Plaszow and then the Hasag-Skarzysko and Leipzig concentration camps; her sister and father would ultimately perish at Stutthof and Auschwitz, respectively. Following the war and the completion of her studies in Cracow, Kaufman immigrated to Israel and later moved to the United States in the 1950s, where she married Alex Kaufman and had three children. She was a successful business woman for many years. In 2009, Luna published “Luna’s Life: A Journey of Forgiveness and Triumph” a memoir of her life, and an inspiring invitation to reconciliation and forgiveness.

Luna has devoted her life to public service across many fronts. A great lover of music and opera, Luna Kaufman served as president of the New Jersey State Opera as well as the first female president of Temple Shalom in Plainfield/Scotch Plains. She was a volunteer press coordinator at the 1980 Olympics, and has held many other roles in state and local government and initiatives, many aimed at Holocaust commemoration and education. She serves as a Gallery Educator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC and chairs the Sister Rose Thering Endowment at Seton Hall University’s Jewish Christian Department. She is to this day a tireless champion of Jewish Christian understanding, promoting Holocaust education and furthering Judeo-Christian relations. Inspired by her dear friend, the late Sister Rose Thering, a Dominican nun, she continues to spread awarenessof the atrocities of the past to ensure a more enlightened and peaceful future.

Among her many honors, Kaufman has received an honorary doctorate from Seton Hall University and was conferred the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit, given to her by the president of Poland in 2011 in recognition of her contributions to Polish-Jewish dialogue.

Luna's wit and personality engaged her audience fully. We were riveted by her tale and touched by her evident passion for spreading understanding and peace in the world. In that vein, Luna is spear-heading a Concert for Peace at Carnegie Hall on October 17th, 2015, and we will share more details about that with our members.

Luna's memoir, "Luna's Life" is available on Amazon and Kindle. If you took a book at the event and would like to make a donation to the Sister Rose Thering Foundation, you can do so here:

We would like to thank Kambiz Shekdar for hosting us and Malika Cosme for her help preparing the evening & taking photographs.

The food was from Di Palo's Fine Foods on Mott & Grand Streets. The evening was organized by Esther Kashkin & Alex Gagliardi.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)