AJN 1 – Transforming Trauma: Congratulations Nomi Blum

Nomi Blum has won the B’naiĀ  B’rith Bernard Lustig scholarship (AJN, page 12), which enabled her to take part in a Monash intensive course in South Africa and Rwanda to study apartheid and genocide.

In itself, winning this scholarship was a commendable achievement. What struck me as particularly interesting, was Blum’s personal path to this academic area. She described a transformation of her “fascination” with the Holocaust to a broader need to understand inhuman behaviours.

Such inquiry has profound resonance for anyone who understands that the phrase, “never again,” can only have meaning when we study the tenuous bonds that prevent societies from imploding into almost incomprehensible brutality.

And that is precisely what drives Ms Blum.

So many of us, especially in Melbourne, are descended from Holocaust survivors. Even those of us who are not have been imbued with the narrative of destruction and the marginal nature of Jewish existence.

The trauma of the Holocaust, even after three generations, still resonates so loudly, that it deafens most of us to horrors perpetuated elsewhere.

So fearful are we of the repetition of our own near-annihilation that our gaze turns inward and we render ourselves incapable of examining in any depth the experience of others in similar circumstances.

Of course, there are Australian Jews who eschew this trauma-born constricted vision.

These Jews, like Ms Blum, are often initially drawn to the topic of human rights abuses and genocide through personal or familial experiences of the Holocaust. Such Jews, however, transform their personal traumatic response into a determination to prevent future atrocities on a much larger scale.

In doing so, they not only benefit the groups they have chosen to study or assist; they are also key to erecting a framework dedicated to preserving the structures that ensure the humane can prevail over the bestial.

And because Jews fall within the broader category of all humanity, we can only benefit from such labours. We also benefit from people knowing that our concerns reach beyond the confines of our own parochial interests.

Jews like Nomi Blum forge bonds, and gain practical knowledge that make them invaluable to our community, our society, and our world.

Kol ha-kavod!

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  2. In the AJN 2 – Congratulations and Caveats: AIJAC
  3. Part Three – The Axis of Honour: Honour and Shame
  4. Winning Friends and Influencing People 3: Anti-Semitism, The Hiatus, and Secret GLBT Business.
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One Response to “AJN 1 – Transforming Trauma: Congratulations Nomi Blum”

  1. fractal68 says:

    Good on her. Sometimes we act like the holocaust is still happening. Thank G-d there are people who understand what real need is and can get some perspective. No matter how much we talk about history it’s never going to change. All we can change is the future.

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