Source: Wilmette Life
Religious leaders of different faiths were among the first people Friday to tour the new Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, which has its long-awaited grand opening Sunday.
The very nature of starting tours with such a diverse religious group, which followed an interfaith breakfast on the ground floor of the museum, perfectly reflected one of the main missions of this remarkable facility: People need to stand together to celebrate differences and to fight hate and discrimination whenever they rear their ugly head.
"You're here first in the building," said Museum Executive Director Richard Hirschhaut to more than 120 people of diverse religious backgrounds.
"You're here first because we beseech from all of your blessing, your good will, your good name in bringing this new institution to life."
Facility Capital Campaign Chairman J.B. Pritzker echoed the point with a personal reflection about what he views as the most important service the new museum and education center offers.
"What is important about this institution for me personally is not that we are telling the history of the Holocaust," Pritzker said. "That is an important component but that is not what is most important. What is most important about this institution is that we are telling the universal lessons of the Holocaust. People can come here and learn from the experience of the Holocaust and the history of the Holocaust the lessons about becoming an up-stander, standing up against hatred and bigotry."