Special guests Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state, and Bruce Pearl, Auburn University basketball coach, headline L’Chaim 2020, which is virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fundraising event to support the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center is at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23 and can be viewed at https://bheclchaim.swell.gives. L’Chaim (“to life”) is a combination of entertainment, education and recognition.
This year, the event honors Susan and David Silverstein for their strong commitment to BHEC’s vision and mission. Albright and Pearl will offer words of hope, empowerment and why Holocaust education remains critical. The program also will feature virtual performances arranged by Keith Cromwell of Birmingham’s Red Mountain Theatre Company.
“Now more than ever, the BHEC is dedicated to preserving and sharing our Alabama Holocaust survivors’ stories, which are powerful reminders to us all of the consequences of hate and silence in the face of hate,” said the Rev. Melissa Self Patrick, executive director of BHEC. “Even during this challenging COVID-19 pandemic, we are empowering teachers and our greater community through Holocaust education online workshops.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s recent audit of anti-Semitic incidents shows a 12% increase overall, and the U.S. Justice Department and FBI statistics on hate crimes show steady growth over the past four years in hate crimes directed against individuals because of race, religion, or sexual orientation, according to a BHEC news release.
L’Chaim culminates the BHEC’s annual fundraising campaign, with all proceeds used to advance the mission of the BHEC. Medical Properties Trust is this year’s presenting sponsor, with other supporters including Alabama Power Foundation and Regions.
BHEC seeks to education Alabamians about the history of the Holocaust “so that new generations will apply the lessons of the Holocaust to the construction of a more just, humane and tolerant future.”
For more information about BHEC, visit www.bhecinfo.org. To join the L’Chaim 2020 conversation on social media, follow #BHECLCHAIM2020.