The appointee to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, profiled in the May/June issue of Boca Raton, shares more on the honor.
On what she’s learned about the Holocaust museum:
“I knew that it was an institution of extraordinary importance, and I knew that the outreach was global and at the scholarly level. But I was not aware of things like training sessions for law enforcement or educational programs or initiatives to enact laws to change school curriculum. The museum has a handle on what’s happening around the world in different schools because it all starts with education.
“I thought the primary focus was the exhibit and collection. Education is just as important as the physical building—as is, perhaps the most crucial mission, preventing the next [genocide]. And not just against the Jewish people. It’s about preventing the next murderous slaughter of innocent citizens—perpetrated by that population’s own government.”
On being appointed to the council:
“You receive a phone call from the White House that you’re being considered by President Obama. They ask if you’re interested. Well,yes! ... Then they ask questions and do an FBI background check ... It’s not the highest level of vetting, but it’s more than the average job. Someone from the White House council’s office reviews your material with you. ... The moment of being told that it was official was such a thrill. A press release went out, and I started getting phone calls from people I hadn’t heard from forever; a girl in my kindergarten class contacted me.”
On the U.S. relationship with Israel:
“Every president since Truman, whether buddy-buddy with the country or not, has supported Israel militarily and financially. Philosophically and ideologically, America stands with Israel. I don’t see that changing in my lifetime—and I will fight to see that relationship is maintained and is strong.
“I know the president and first lady personally, and I am happy to tell anyone who asks that they not only have a fundamental understanding of what is Israel and who are the Jewish people but a true love of who we are and what we do.”