July 1 Event Marks the Opening of “Uneasy Years: Michigan Jewry in Depression and War”



On July 1, 2012, The Kalamazoo Valley Museum will offer refreshments, music, lecture and discussion for the opening of “Uneasy Years: Michigan Jewry During Depression and War.”  There is no admission fee for the Museum, and these programs are free.

At 1:30 p.m., The Red Sea Pedestrians will play their special brand of Klezmer music. They are a one-of-a-kind, full-blown, instrument-swapping fusion between tradition and the here-and-now. The band is a melting pot of six distinct singer/songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, exploring a warped and beautiful blend of Klezmer, Greek, Gypsy, Celtic, Jazz and American Roots.

A lecture and discussion at 3:00 p.m. will be led by Dr.  Kenneth Waltzer, who is a Professor of History in James Madison College at Michigan State University and Director of the MSU Jewish Studies Program.  He is currently completing a book on “The Rescue of Children and Youths at Buchenwald” and is serving as historical consultant for a feature-length documentary film, “Kinderblock 66.”  Dr. Waltzer is co-curator for Uneasy Years and will focus his talk on Jews in Michigan during the Great Depression and World War II.

Many in Kalamazoo’s Jewish community will be able to relate to the events of this time period through their own experiences or from stories passed down through their families.  KVM staff are collecting these stories and others and will share them in video and as transcripts available online. Some of the oral histories gathered, along with photographs and objects borrowed from Kalamazoo families, will be incorporated into “Uneasy Years” while it resides at the KVM.

This traveling exhibit was made possible with financial support from the Congregation Shaarey Zedek of East Lansing, Michigan State University Jewish Studies Program, Michigan State University Museum, the Michigan Humanities Council, the Ben Teitle Foundation, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and private donors. All of today’s events are free.  Call, or go to www.kalamazoomuseum.org for more information.

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is governed by its Board of Trustees.