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Holocaust Survivor’s Daughter Inspires Forgiveness In Riverdale Double-Header

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Karen Kaplan

Renown author/speaker Karen Kaplan will be in Riverdale to share her Memoir, Descendants Of Rajgród: "Learning To Forgive".

The event will be held on Tuesday, July 12, 10:30-11:30 a.m., at the Riverdale Y Senior Center, 5625 Arlington Avenue. Ms. Kaplan, a Chicago native, has also been invited to speak at the Riverdale Atria on Sunday, July 10, 11:00 a.m.

New York City dwellers can hear her in Greenwich Village at The Cornelia Street Café on Monday, July 11 at 6:00 p.m.

Growing up as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor is extremely difficult. 

Reflecting on her childhood, Karen Kaplan tried to make some sense of her past. What she discovered in her life’s journey is a powerful personal instrument to help those living with anger, bitterness and sadness, live a better life. Kaplan communicates the account of  her father, Arie Kaplan, who survived the Holocaust in the forests of Eastern Europe. As a mother, writer, and daughter of a Holocaust survivor, hers is a story of loving forgiveness and letting go of the legacy of bitterness and angst that has hovered over the Jewish community following centuries of anti-Semitism. In her journal, writing about her father, she fears that she has inherited his "survivor mentality" and is at risk of losing sight of ever being content.  

The ultimate test of Karen Kaplan’s depth of forgiveness was forced upon her when three armed men broke into her Deerfield home, bound and gagged her and two of her children, holding them at  gunpoint. While she felt that this experience was just an inkling of what her father endured during the Holocaust – trauma, fear, paranoia, and anger, Karen knew in order to return to the peace and contentment she had known after forgiving her father, it was necessary to channel her fear into positive thoughts and remain calm and centered. To survive, Karen needed to overcome the pessimism and defeatism that plagued her father throughout his life. Karen understood that she was unable to have an effect on the world by holding onto anger and fear. She had learned that forgiveness was the only way to change her inner self.

Karen Kaplan has been featured on WGN-TV Chicago morning news, Bialystok, Poland TV news, WIND Radio, and Mental Health News Radio and cable shows. 

Articles of her book have been published in the Yiddish Forward, Chicago Jewish News, Sun Times Skokie Review, Sun-Times Deerfield Review, Highland Park Landmark, The Chicago and suburban Patch: on-line news, and The JUF Chicago News. Karen continues to speak at local, national and international organizations, synagogues, churches, museums, and educational institutions. The author will present her book in Germany, August 2016 at a physician’s conference titled: Refugees, Trauma and Reconciliation. 

Riverdale Y reservations and optional lunch, please contact Vicki Matalon at 347-913-4395.

Further information and requests to engage Karen Kaplan, please contact Helene Kamioner at 718-796-9802.


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Karen Kaplan