Gold, Ben-Zion 1923–
Gold, Ben-Zion 1923–
Born 1923, in Radom, Poland; immigrated to United States, 1947. Religion: Judaism.
Rabbi, educator, and writer. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Harvard Hillel director, 1958-1990.
Tradition and Contemporary Reality (sermons and speeches), Puritan Press (Cambridge, MA), 1990.
The Life of Jews in Poland before the Holocaust: A Memoir, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2007.
For more than three decades, Ben-Zion Gold served as director of Harvard Hillel, a Harvard University Jewish organization that sponsors lectureships, forums, and study groups focusing on the Jewish culture and religion. In a history of Hillel on the Harvard Hillel Web site, a contributor noted: "[Gold] had visions of a community that would serve the broad spectrum of Jews at Harvard and hopes that the University would in time be more accepting of Jewish difference."
In his book The Life of Jews in Poland before the Holocaust: A Memoir, Gold recounts his family's traditional Jewish life in Radom, Poland, before the German invasion in 1940 and reveals the legacy of the Jewish culture prior to World War II. The author then proceeds to describe his life in segregated ghettos after the German invasion, how he avoided being sent to a concentration camp, and his efforts to build a new life. "There is an imbalance in the way we remember the Jews of Europe," the author writes in his introduction to The Life of Jews in Poland before the Holocaust. "Thousands of books have been written about the Holocaust, but only a few have been written about the life of Polish Jews before they were murdered." The author goes on to comment: "The Holocaust was undoubtedly the greatest tragedy in Jewish history, but it would be a mistake to treat it as a heritage. Our heritage is the way the Jews of Europe lived and what they created before the Holocaust." George Cohen, writing in Booklist, noted that the author also "writes about … the relations between Poles and religious Jews as ‘burdened by prejudices on both sides.’"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Gold, Ben-Zion, The Life of Jews in Poland before the Holocaust: A Memoir, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2007.
Booklist, February 15, 2007, George Cohen, review of The Life of Jews in Poland before the Holocaust, p. 19.
Harvard Hillel, http://18.104.22.168/ (August 28, 2007), "History of Harvard Hillel."
University of Nebraska Press,http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/ (October 4, 2007), brief profile of author.