01.04.2008 10:45

As part of its ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the Armenian
Genocide and other crimes against humanity, the Armenian Assembly of
America partnered with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)
of Greater Boston to support "Out of Darkness," a performance dance
exploring the tragic events of 1915.

The Assembly and JCRC co-hosted a reception, which featured the
world-renowned Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Sayat Nova Dance Company,
the internationally-known Armenian troupe. Adapted from Lerman's Small
Dances About Big Ideas, "Out of Darkness" explores mass violence in
contemporary times and provides a healing reflection on the scope of
human compassion. Leaders from the Armenian and Jewish communities,
including Israeli Consular General to New England Nadav Tamir,
attended the pre-reception and the performance.

In her remarks at the reception, Nancy K. Kaufman, Executive Director
of the JCRC of Greater Boston, reminded those gathered of the
special connection that both communities share and the importance of
remembering and acknowledging the genocides perpetrated against both
Jews and Armenians in the last century.

This came during the same week that Andrew Tarsy, former Director
of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, gave a major speech
at Northeastern University, where he expressed hope that the next
President of the United States will acknowledge the Armenian Genocide
by its proper name.

"When the term 'genocide' applies, as it the case of the
Armenians, it is imperative that we be unhesitating and unambiguous in
applying it, regardless of the political consequences," said Tarsy,
who is now working for Facing History and Ourselves. "Anything less
facilitates the obfuscation of truth. Anything less dishonors the
memory of the dead, and anything less ultimately imperils the safety
of the living."

Tarsy also said that the common ground Jews and Armenians find as
victims of genocide makes them uniquely interested in understanding
each others' historical experience.

"Their mutual empathy can be a source of healing, and their mutual
efforts can produce wisdom," he explained.

"The opportunity for the Armenian community and Jewish community to
join in partnership projects to explore our common experience with
genocide does sensitize our communities to each others' sufferings,"
said Board of Trustees Public Affairs Chair Anthony Barsamian. "It
is important that our communities continue to work together and draw
lessons from the past to prevent future crimes against humanity,
such as the current genocide in Darfur."

"Out of Darkness" was presented by the New Center for Arts and Culture
in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, Springstep and the
Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College.

JCRC works to promote a society that reflects the best of American and
Jewish values -- in Greater Boston, Israel and around the world --
by convening and mobilizing the Jewish community. Through advocacy,
organizing, service and partnerships, JCRC pursues social justice,
ensures a vibrant Jewish community, and builds a network of support
for Israel.