Ariel Burger talks about his book WITNESS: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom. And we re-air our 2016 interview with Ani Tuzman about her novel based on the life of the 18th-century Jewish mystic, the Baal Shem Tov, The Tremble of Love.
Elie Wiesel was a towering presence on the world stage—a Nobel laureate, activist, adviser to world leaders, and the author of more than forty books. But when asked, Wiesel always said, “I am a teacher first.”
He taught at Boston University for nearly forty years. Helpng him for some of that time was his protégé, teaching assistant and friend Ariel Burger. In his book Witness : Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom, Burger shows how Wiesel challenged his students to explore moral complexity and resist the dangerous lure of absolutes.
In recounting moments between Wiesel and his students, the book creates a kind of primer on educating against indifference, on the urgency of memory and individual responsibility, and on the role of literature, music, and art in making the world a more compassionate place.
Ariel Burger is a writer, artist, teacher, and rabbi whose work combines spirituality, creativity, and strategies for social change.
Despite his unquestionable moral force, there have been those who have pointed out that Elie Wiesel’s record of compassion faltered when it came to justice for the Palestinian people. Francesca asked Ariel Burger about this in the extended interview. Click here to listen to that part of our conversation.
Hanukkah began on December 2 this year and ends on December 10. Around Hanukkah in 2016, we spoke with Ani Tuzman about her novel The Tremble of Love, based on the life of the 18th-century Jewish mystic, the Baal Shem Tov. We air an extended excerpt from that interview today. Find out more and listen to the entire interview here.