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Armenian, Jewish Communities Unite to Commemorate Holocaust and Armenian Genocide Together

From left, Robert Silvers, senior rabbi, Congregation B’nai Israel; Arsine Kaloustian, chair, Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc.; and Father Paren Galstyan, pastor of St. David Armenian Apostolic Church, gather to discuss plans for an interfaith Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) commemoration taking place on Sunday, April 23 at B’nai Israel which also will commemorate Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. (MICHAEL LAUGHLIN/JEWISH JOURNAL STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

BOCA RATON, FL – As Armenians and Jews around the world will gather this week to commemorate Yom HaShoah and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, which happen to fall on the same day this year, Congregation B’nai Israel and the Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. have organized a joint program of remembrance with a screening of the critically acclaimed film DENIAL at Congregation B’nai Israel, 2200 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431 on Sunday, April 23rd at 6:00pm.

Based on the book Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, DENIAL recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt’s (Academy Award® winner Rachel Weisz) legal battle for historical truth against David Irving (BAFTA nominee Timothy Spall), who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system, in cases of libel, the burden of proof is on the defendant, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team, led by Richard Rampton (Academy Award® nominee Tom Wilkinson), to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred.

“The Armenian and Jewish communities have a shared historical pain. Our religions may be different, but our stories are the same. Families broken apart and slaughtered in campaigns of ethnic cleansing that took millions of lives from us, an uprooting of a people and a way of life, our survival and that we have not only survived but thrived, and a vow to remember and never forget,” commented Arsine Kaloustian, Florida Armenians Editor and Chair of Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. “We also share the vigilance against any denial of these atrocities, which makes the theme of the film so relevant for both communities,” she added.

The commemorative event will be featured in this weeks Sun-Sentinel Jewish Journal.

The program will begin with a catered welcome reception, while a multi-panel presentation on prejudice and genocide created by students from Palm Beach Central High School will be on public display. Local Armenian and Jewish community leaders will then deliver brief remarks and discuss the importance of the film. After the film screening, the evening will conclude with an interfaith candlelit prayer service from local religious leaders.

“We human beings, created in the divine image, have a Godly responsibility to speak out and act against the atrocity of the extermination of any people because of their race, religion, or ethnicity. Too often people are complicit in their silence against those who would deny such a holocaust. The lessons of history must be studied and learned so that we might chart a better course for humanity. It does not do justice to our Godly responsibilities to ignore, deny, or reframe human history,” stated Rabbi Robert A. Silvers of Congregation B’nai Israel.

The event is free and open to the public. Members of the media are also invited to participate. Space is limited and RSVP is required. Please register online at: www.rememberthem.eventbrite.com.

About the Organizers:

Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. (AGC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose purpose is to observe and commemorate the Armenian Genocide of 1915 when the Ottoman Turkish Empire systematically annihilated 1.5 million Armenians through a campaign of ethnic cleansing, as well as raise public awareness of all genocides. AGC is responsible for planning and executing all Armenian Genocide related activities within Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Founded in 1989, Congregation B’nai Israel is now considered one of the landmark reform congregations in the country. With nearly 1,000 families, a religious school serving over 600 students, and early childhood programs considered one of the finest in the nation, Congregation B’nai Israel, or CBI, is more than just a synagogue. It is a thriving and connected Jewish community, joyfully inspired by tradition and passionately committed to worship, study and repairing the world.

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Armenian American Advocacy Update in South Florida

St. David Armenian Church (1)

Arsine Kaloustian Named Acting-Managing Editor of Florida Armenians

BOCA RATON, FL – Florida Armenians is pleased to announce the promotion of Arsine Kaloustian to Acting-Managing Editor of Florida Armenians, effective immediately. Kaloustian has served as Florida Armenians Public Affairs Director since the very beginning and has been instrumental in the media outlets’ launch and success over the years.

Arsine Kaloustian

“Florida Armenians started as an idea – the idea that an Armenian community should be tied together, move as one, and be united, regardless of politics or affiliations,” Kaloustian said. “Florida Armenians built upon that foundation, and as a result we have extended our reach to every Armenian community in the state. Today, we have more followers on Facebook than any other Armenian organization in Florida, and that is something we are so very proud of because it means we are actively achieving our goal of bridging our community in a meaningful way. I am honored to be stepping into this role, and am excited to discover what the future holds for Armenians in Florida,” she said.

Kaloustian has been active in various Armenian American organizations for almost a decade. She previously served as the Chairperson of the Return to Asbury Armenian Kef in 2014 and 2015, and currently serves as the Chairperson of South Florida’s Armenian Genocide Commemoration (AGC, Inc.) and Florida Chairperson of the Armenian Assembly of America.

Kaloustian will take over for out-going Editor Taniel Koushakjian, who launched Florida Armenians in 2011 to meet the needs of a growing non-partisan Armenian American readership. Florida Armenians is the only independent Armenian news media outlet in America, and serves the 30,000 and growing Armenian American community members in Florida, now the third largest state in the Union.

“Arsine’s role in the launch and growth of Florida Armenians has been invaluable and she has elevated our publication to the top of the class in terms of accurate reporting and effective dissemination of Armenian American news,” Koushakjian said. “No doubt, Kaloustian will continue to raise our own editorial standing with our growing list of contributors and readers across the country and I’m confident that she will do a great job in this new capacity,” he said.

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