Thursday, March 30, 2017
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Resolution to appreciate the role of the City of Tsuruga, Japan in the saving of over 2000 Jewish families rescued by Chiune Sugihara in 1941

WHEREAS, the leadership of the city of Tsuruga, Japan, supported the entry into Japan of over 2000 Jewish families with visas issues by Consul Chiune Sugihara in the spring and summer of 1941 in Lithuania.

WHEREAS, the current leadership of the City of Tsuruga, Japan, continue to embrace this life-saving legacy of Consul Sugihara by reaching out to Consul Sugihara survivor Samuil Manski, a member of Temple Emeth of South Brookline.

WHEREAS, Consul Sugihara and the people of Tsuruga, Japan, epitomize the teachings of the Talmudic sages that if you save one life it is as if you have saved the world.

WHEREAS, the Jewish and Japanese communities of the Town of Brookline for the past decade have hosted celebrations of the heroism and righteousness of Consul Chiune Sugihara initiated by Samuil Manski through the good offices of Temple Emeth of South Brookline.

WHEREAS the Sugihara Commemoration Committee at Temple Emeth has created programming at Brookline Schools in conjunction with school staff and Facing History and Ourselves that teaches the ethics of Chiune Sugihara to a broad swath of students including those of Japanese descent in our community.

WHEREAS a monument celebrating the heroism of Chiune Sugihara located at Temple Emeth in South Brookline is recognized worldwide and has been visited by descendents of Chiune Sugihara.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Selectmen welcome officials of the city of Tsuruga, Japan, to the Town of Brookline in the Fall of 2008, declare a day of memorial to Chuine Sugihara, and recognize the city of Tsuruga as a City of New Beginnings.

Petitioner’s Explanation

When history brings an awareness of a righteous person into our midst, it is behest upon us to bring it to the attention of our community in the most effective ways.

In 1941, Chiune Sugihara, a mid level diplomat of Japan found himself in Lithuania where many Jews were arriving with hopes of escaping slaughter at the hands of the Nazi’s. Consul Sugihara, ignoring the reticence of his superiors, provided over 2000 visas to Jewish families to go to Japan as a path to survival.

A steppingstone on the path to freedom was the entry point to Japan, the city of Tsuruga. The leaders of this city are proud of their role in saving the Jews from Lithuania.

The leaders of Tsuruga have recognized an association with the Town of Brookline through the initiatives of Sugihara survivor Samuil Manski, who has promoted the appreciation and remembering of the righteous person, Chiune Sugihara, through the creation of a stone of remembrance at Temple Emeth, through activities with the local Japanese community and families of visiting Japanese scholars at Temple Emeth in South Brookline, and most recently through new programming at the Lawrence and Lincoln Schools.

Last school year, the Brookline public schools program was sanctioned by the school committee and superintendent of schools Dr. Lupini. Social studies teacher Jonathan Greiner of the Lawrence school worked with a mini curriculum designed at Temple Emeth which he incorporated into the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum. The process included three classes: the study of the deeds of Sugihara, viewing the WGBH video, “Sugihara - Conspiracy of Kindness” and a compelling personal testimonial by survivor Samuil Manski. The presence of representatives from both the Israeli and Japanese Consulates in the classroom exemplified for the students inter-cultural dialogue on a diplomatic level which enhanced the message of acceptance given in the deeply moving narrative of “Saba Sam.” The relationship with the Brookline schools was also initiated with the enthusiastic support of Akiko Kawai, Coordinator of the Brookline schools English Language Learning program that supports a large population of Japanese speaking families. Possibilities are being explored to continue this program and, perhaps, to expand it to other Brookline public schools.

Outside of the schools, in April, 2008, the Sugihara Commemoration Committee at Temple Emeth in South Brookline, under the auspices of the Japanese Consulate and Israeli Consulate, created a Panel discussion on “Japanese, Christian and Jewish Perspectives on Ethical Actions in an Immoral Setting”, featuring Prof. Yasushi Toda, a visiting scholar at Harvard and an expert on human rights issues; Father Walter Cuenin, Catholic Chaplain at Brandeis University, and Dr. Nir Eisikovits, Director of the Graduate Program in Ethics and Public Policy at Suffolk University. Supporting organizations include Temple Emeth, Anti-Defamation League New England Region, Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs New England Region, the Brookline Superintendent, School Committee and ELL Program, Japan Society of Boston, Congregation Mishkan Tefila and Temple Reyim.

Through this resolution, the Town of Brookline will welcome and celebrate the visit of the Mayor of Tsuruga to Brookline as he visits Samuil Manski at Temple Emeth in South Brookline to strengthen the connection between the City of Tsuruga, the legacy of Consul Sugihara, and the people of Brookline.

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