Songs of Struggle, Songs of Faith

The first public event of a year-long Birmingham initiative, “The Holocaust: Remembrance and Reflection,” will be Nov. 20 at 4 p.m., at the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Cantor Daniel Gale of Temple Beth-El will be joined by Oral Moses of Kennesaw State University for “Songs of Struggle, Songs of Faith: Celebrating the African-American and Jewish Musical Traditions.”

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee and the Birmingham Museum of Art have been spearheading a year of Holocaust-related programming, centered around two exhibits that will be in Birmingham next year.

“Through the Eye of the Needle: The Fabric Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz” will be at the Museum of Art starting Feb. 26, and “The Children’s Story: Children’s Drawings from Terezin 1943-1944” opens the next week at the Civil Rights Institute.

A teacher training workshop took place in September, with about 100 teachers in attendance. Already, area schools have reserved 40 buses for students to view both exhibits, and docents are being recruited for the exhibits and special programs at both venues.

Karen Allen and Jim Sokol are chairing the project.

Gale and Moses performed “Songs of Struggle” at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan last year. They first became friends at the University of Michigan.

Moses, a bass-baritone, performs regularly throughout the United States and Europe, singing opera, oratorio and recitals with special emphasis on the art song repertoire by African-American composers. He has had numerous successes with opera companies, performing major roles in “Le Nozze di Figaro,” “Regina,” “La Boheme,” and “Die Zauberflote,” among others.

In addition to Moses’ responsibilities as professor of singing at Kennessaw State University in Atlanta, annual recital tours in Germany round out his performing schedule.

Interfaith trip meeting

The final component of “The Holocaust: Remembrance and Reflection” will be an interfaith trip from Birmingham to the Czech Republic and Israel next May.

There will be two informational meetings for those who are considering joining the group. Shalmi Barmore, the founder and former director of Holocaust education at Yad Vashem, will be the guest speaker. He will also be the scholar-in-residence for the trip while the group is in Prague.

The meetings will be at Sirote Permutt on Nov. 29 at 5 p.m., and at the Civil Rights Institute on Nov. 30 at 8 a.m.

The Prague portion of the trip includes visits to the Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Jewish Museum, Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral and the Terezin concentration camp. William Cabaniss and his wife, Catherine, who are from Birmingham, are planning a reception at the residence of the American Ambassador to the Czech Republic for mission members.

In Israel, the group will visit Masada and the Sea of Galilee, the towns of Nazareth and Tzfat, and Birmingham’s sister city Rosh Ha’ayin. In Jerusalem, the group will walk the Via Dolorosa, gather at the Western Wall and meet with Ethiopian Jews.

The trip will be from May 7 to 18.