Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom

Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom

by Ariel Burger

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Overview


WINNER OF THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD—BIOGRAPHY

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, including the Oprah’s Book Club selection Night. But when asked, Wiesel always said, “I am a teacher first.”

In fact, he taught at Boston University for nearly four decades, and with this book, Ariel Burger—devoted protégé, apprentice, and friend—takes us into the sacred space of Wiesel’s classroom. There, Wiesel challenged his students to explore moral complexity and to resist the dangerous lure of absolutes. In bringing together never-before-recounted moments between Wiesel and his students, Witness serves as a moral education in and of itself—a 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.

Burger first met Wiesel at age fifteen; he became his student in his twenties, and his teaching assistant in his thirties. In this profoundly thought-provoking and inspiring book, Burger gives us a front-row seat to Wiesel’s remarkable exchanges in and out of the classroom, and chronicles the intimate conversations between these two men over the decades as Burger sought counsel on matters of intellect, spirituality, and faith, while navigating his own personal journey from boyhood to manhood, from student and assistant, to rabbi and, in time, teacher.

“Listening to a witness makes you a witness,” said Wiesel. Ariel Burger’s book is an invitation to every reader to become Wiesel’s student, and witness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328802699
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 11/13/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 548,782
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author


ARIEL BURGER is a teacher, writer, and artist whose work focuses on education, spirituality, the arts, and strategies for social change. An ordained rabbi, Ariel received his PhD in Jewish Studies and Conflict Resolution under Elie Wiesel. A lifelong student of Professor Wiesel, Ariel served as his Teaching Fellow from 2003-2008, after which he designed educational initiatives at several nonprofits. Ariel travels the world lecturing and serving as a scholar/artist-in-residence, facilitating workshops for educators and leaders, and consulting to creative organizations. When Ariel's not learning or teaching, he is creating music, art, and poetry. He lives outside of Boston with his family.
www.arielburger.com

Table of Contents

A Note to the Reader ix

Introduction xi

1 Memory 1

2 Otherness 35

3 Faith and Doubt 71

4 Madness and Rebellion 109

5 Activism 143

6 Beyond Words 187

7 Witness 225

Postscript 253

Recommended Reading 257

Acknowledgments 261

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