LimmudFest 2021 LimmudFest 2021
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In Quarantine with Anne Frank

Dr. Naomi Yavneh Klos
Loyola University of New Orleans, Professor of Languages and Cultures

Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D. is Professor of Languages and Cultures at Loyola University New Orleans. During Spring 2020, she was a Fulbright Scholar at Windesheim University in The Netherlands, exploring issues of diversity, social justice, and inclusion. Since 2018, she has been co-director of the International Summer Institute, “Tolerance, Diversity, and Lessons from the Holocaust,” jointly sponsored by Windesheim, Hanze Honours College, and Memorial Camp Westerbork. Naomi’s current book project, “In Quarantine with Anne Frank,” explores how Anne Frank can help us engage with essential questions of empathy, compassion and loving-kindness in a time of anxiety, uncertainty, and hate.

In the early days of the pandemic, the name Anne Frank was everywhere, whether as a Facebook meme or as a stern warning never to forget the unique horror of the Holocaust. But although Anne Frank is an iconic figure for Jews and non-Jews alike, most of us do not know the nuances of her story or its context in the Dutch experience of World War II. We also may not be aware that the "diary" we read is, in fact, a combination of Anne’s daily diary and her own (incomplete) revision, which she hoped to publish after the war. Looking at examples of Anne’s own writing and re-writing, we will consider how she might serve as a model of spiritual resilience and hope in a time of anxiety and hate.