Beth El hosts scholar program
Posted: January 25, 2013
Star staff report
WINCHESTER — Robert Gillette of Lynchburg will serve as Beth El Congregation’s scholar-in-residence and will give presentations today and Saturday.
He will speak during services that begin at 8 p.m. today and then again at 10 a.m. Saturday. The public is invited to both events.
Gillette has published a book, “The Virginia Plan,” about how, during the late 1930s, Richmond businessman William B. Thalhimer helped to rescue a group of Jewish teenagers from the oncoming Nazi Holocaust.
Thalhimer had visited Germany in 1930, and a confrontation with Nazi militia members left an impression of their anti-Semitism.
When the opportunity arose to offer help to a group of young German Jews, Thalhimer did not hesitate. In 1938, some members of this group were brought to Hyde Farmlands that had been established on the grounds of an old plantation in Burkeville.
Gillette has said his book chronicles a story never researched or written about before. “It is a Holocaust story, a Jewish story (both American and German), an American immigration story, and a Virginia story.”
For 40 years, Gillette was a public school and religious educator in Connecticut and New York, winning awards for both his secular and religious curricula.
He has also presented information about his book at The Virginia Festival of the Book, the Jones Library in Lynchburg, and a number of synagogues on the East Coast.
Beth El Congregation is located at 520 Fairmont Ave. in Winchester. For additional information about these programs, contact Rabbi Scott Sperling at 540-667-1889 or email@example.com.