A program honoring the memory of BHEC founder Phyllis Grusin Weinstein
Published: August 6, 2021
The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (BHEC), in collaboration with Red Mountain Theatre (RMT), is presenting its annual fundraising event (online) L’Chaim on Sunday, August 22 at 3 p.m.
The presenting sponsor for L’Chaim this year is Medical Properties Trust. The program honoring the memory of BHEC founder Phyllis Grusin Weinstein will be a combination of musical and theatrical entertainment, education, and remembrance with performances by the Red Mountain Performing Ensemble and special guests, including Alie B. Gorrie. L’Chaim will be hosted by Birmingham native Alison Goldstein Lebovitz, TV host of “The A List with Alison Lebovitz.” The program will also feature a conversational one-on-one interview with Wolf Blitzer by Birmingham resident Esther Schuster. Blitzer, host of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” is the son of Holocaust Survivors.
L’Chaim, celebrating its 10th year, will be streamed live from the brand-new Red Mountain Theatre at bheclchaim.swell.gives. In 2012, the very first L’Chaim honoree was Phyllis Weinstein. “L’Chaim,” is a celebratory Hebrew word meaning “to life.” The event is co-produced by RMT Executive Director Keith Cromwell and BHEC board member, Deborah Layman.
Phyllis G. Weinstein
A community mentor, teacher, advocate, and leader, Phyllis Weinstein left her indelible mark on virtually all the Jewish organizations and agencies in Birmingham, including Hadassah, Collat Jewish Family Services, the Birmingham Jewish Federation (BJF), and BJF Community Relations Committee. She also spearheaded the founding of the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School. Weinstein’s purview in community service extended beyond the Jewish community. She served on the board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and worked hand-in-hand with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) on projects that involved partnerships between the African-American and Jewish communities.
Weinstein’s particular gift as a leader was to bring others along on the way and get them involved. She mentored a generation of Jewish leaders in Birmingham. She recruited, she taught, she inspired, she steered, she insisted. The Birmingham community continues to reap the benefits of Phyllis’s leadership through the many leaders she has mentored.
In 1984, Weinstein was a charter member of the Alabama State Holocaust Advisory Council, which became the Alabama Holocaust Commission (AHC) in 1999. In 2002, Weinstein gathered a group of like-minded citizens and created the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee, a sub-committee of the Alabama Holocaust Commission, which became the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in 2011. When asked why she worked so hard to preserve the history and lessons of the Holocaust, she answered, “It was something that needed to be done.”
About Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (BHEC):
A leader in Holocaust education, the BHEC provides valuable professional development for teachers throughout Alabama. Since 2009, the BHEC has trained 1,513 educators, impacting over 98,000 students statewide. In addition, the BHEC offers teacher scholarships to advanced national and international seminars on Holocaust education and provides speakers, exhibits, and resources to schools, universities, corporations, and civic groups across Alabama at no cost.
The BHEC’s mission is to educate the public about the history and lessons of the Holocaust in order to create a more just and compassionate world that recognizes the dignity, potential, and humanity of every individual. By preserving and sharing the stories of local Holocaust survivors and commemorating the lives of those who perished, the BHEC seeks to promote a moral and ethical response to contemporary instances of anti-Semitism, bigotry, and indifference.
The BHEC is located at 2100 Highland Avenue South. For more information about the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, visit our website: bhecinfo.org. To view the L’Chaim event online or to make a donation, go to bheclchaim.swell.gives, and to join the L’Chaim 2021 conversation on social media, follow #bheclchaim2021.