Kristallnacht remembrance becomes a Readers Theater

"Lonely Woman" is a painting by Nadia Werbitzky, part of an exhibition of her work on display at the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center in Maitland.

“Lonely Woman” is a painting by Nadia Werbitzky, part of an exhibition of her work on display at the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center in Maitland.


MAITLAND — History can be vividly recreated for younger generations, through literature, live theater, and paintings that capture everything from the joys and triumphs to the horrific traumas of the past.
Literature, theater and art all came together on Sunday at the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center in Maitland, principally through the artwork of Nadia Werbitzky and the writings of her mother, Teodora Verbitskya.
Just as remarkable as the history that Nadia and her mother endured, though, was the story behind the exhibition at the Holocaust Center, and how the center was able to find, and restore, some of Nadia’s key paintings that were close to being lost forever.
On Sunday, the Holocaust Center presented a special Readers Theater called “Two Regimes,” as four actors read from the manuscript that became the book “Two Regimes -A Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival”. The book is the memoirs of Teodora Verbitskya and her young daughters, Nadia and Lucy, and their lives in Russia from the 1920s, as the Bolshevik Revolution was becoming an iron-grip dictatorship under Joseph Stalin, through the 1940s, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in an attempt to make it part of Hitler’s Nazi regime.
The occasion was the Holocaust Center’s annual commemoration of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom in Germany on Nov. 9-10, 1938. Continue reading

HiQora brings together Mensa’s smartest world champions

Sainyam Cautam, a contestant in the HiQora High IQ World Championships, tried to keep knocking a ping pon ball over a wooden bar without it falling to the ground.

Sainyam Cautam of India, a contestant in the HiQora High IQ World Championships, tried to keep knocking a ping pon ball over a wooden bar without it falling to the ground.


SAN DIEGO — In a corner of the spacious meeting room stands a wooden bar, roughly shoulder length in height, next to a table with ping pong balls and paddles.
In the moments before the start of the competition, Nick Sanford noted that the concept behind this station was fairly simple — although not necessarily easy to accomplish.
“All they have to do,” he said, “is knock a ping pong ball over the bar for 10 minutes. It sounds very simple — until you’ve tried to do it.”
Indeed, one of the contestants, Sainyam Cautam of India, was soon practicing his moves in the minutes before the competition started. He then had 10 minutes to see how consistently he could knock the ball over the bar, then hit it back onto the other side, then back again … without missing. As the minutes went by, he got faster and faster, and his timing improved considerably. From the smile on his face, he even seemed to be enjoying it.
The event was HiQora, the High IQ World Championships 2016 sponsored by the organization American Mensa, which is made up of people across the globe in the top 1 percentile of high intelligence. The championship was held during Mensa’s Annual Gathering 2016, at the Town & Country Inn in San Diego. Continue reading

Orlando tourism economy will survive Pulse attack, economics professor says

This memorial to the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre was set up at Orlando's Lake Eola Park. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

This memorial to the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre was set up at Orlando’s Lake Eola Park. (Photo by Michael Freeman).


ORLANDO – Central Florida’s very strong tourism economy is likely to recover from the terrorist attack at a gay nightclub near downtown Orlando, said an expert on state and national economic trends.
Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida, said its likely most visitors will see the attack on the Pulse nightclub as a one-time event, horrific as it was, and not necessarily as something likely to be repeated.
The same is true, he said, even though it happened two days after the shooting death of a singer from “The Voice,” and one day before a toddler was killed by an alligator at a Walt Disney World hotel.
“I think that is unique,” Snaith said, “although I’m not convinced that visitors or potential visitors sort of link those together in a chain, that it defines the nature of our region. I think they’re all sort of very different – and unlikely to be repeated.”
The three incidents received worldwide press attention, with heavy coverage on local, national and cable news programs. But despite that coverage and often graphic video footage of the aftermath of the Pulse attack, Snaith said he does not expect tourists to suddenly assume Orlando is no longer a safe city to visit.
“You think, of course, of the terror attack at Pulse,” he said. “That’s a pretty difficult event for Orlando to process, perhaps more so for the residents than the visitors, and the toddler at Disney is just such a freak event. It’s not that suddenly everyone thinks if they go to Disney they will be attacked by an alligator. There may be some short term impacts from these events, but by and large I don’t think it’s going to have an impact long term.” Continue reading

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