MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: JULIE STEIN, 48
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has taught Julie Stein the importance of speaking for those who cannot.
“I see my purpose, as well as my son’s and future generations, to carry the torch of memory in the vision of ‘Never Again,’ Stein said.
The 48-year-old Delray Beach resident will lead the national institution’s 25th Anniversary South Florida “What You Do Matters” Dinner as its chair. The Jan. 30 dinner at Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton commemorates the museum’s silver anniversary.
Stein also recently became a 25th Anniversary National Patron, with a significant gift to the museum.
“We can’t go back and make the Holocaust not happen,” Stein said. “Yet as humans and citizens of this planet, we simply need to eliminate genocide. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was created 25 years ago to honor the memory of the Holocaust survivors and to inspire people to ask thought-provoking questions that history raises for us today.”
Some of those questions, according to Stein: Why did the most advanced society in the world at the time descend into genocide? Why did so many people become complicit or choose to remain silent?
“The museum’s very existence challenges us to reflect on these questions and to ‘Never Stop Asking Why,’” Stein said.
Stein was born in Baltimore, graduated from the University of Rochester and earned advanced degrees from the Bank Street College of Education. As an educator, Stein worked for both private schools and the New York City Board of Education. She moved to South Florida in 2001 with her son, Jesse, now 17. In addition to a range of volunteer activities, Stein is co-owner and co-founder of Under the Sun, a hair care treatment line.
In addition to her involvement with the museum, Stein is a Mentor for Women of Tomorrow (WOT) and a leadership council member for WOT. She is a JAFCO “Godparent,” was vice-chair (2016) and co-chair (2017) for Empty Bowls Delray Beach to help feed the hungry, and serves as a board member for Impact 100 PBC.
As for the future, Stein hopes the museum becomes a much greater voice in the world: Not only a voice for those that suffered in the Holocaust, but for the many other crimes and injustices against humanity.
“With anti-Semitism, intolerance and threats to personal freedoms flourishing, now more than ever, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is crucial for humanity,” Stein said.
Five years ago, at the 20th Anniversary of the Museum, Stein was inspired when Elie Wiesel stepped up to the podium and said: ‘You are now our flag bearers. It is your memory that will inherit ours.’”
For more information on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, visit ushmm.org. For the South Florida “What You Do Matters” dinner, call 561-995-6773.
Q & A
Who is your hero?
My mother, Margery Kolker Pozefsky, for always being so loving and supportive, and for teaching me (by showing) the love of giving.
What is your favorite movie?
“The Philadelphia Story,” “The African Queen,” “Shawshank Redemption,” “Life is Beautiful,” “Annie Hall,” “Madagascar,” “The Birdcage,” and “Best in Show.”
What are your hobbies?
Reading, travel, humor, enjoying music with my son, volunteering, and photography.
What do you do to get away or take a break?
I travel quite often, so being at home is often my “getaway.” I also enjoy taking walks and enjoying family and friends.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
From my mom, when I went off to college: “Do what will make you happy, not what will make you money.”
What event in history would you have liked to have witnessed?
Rather than wanting to witness an event in history, I’d like to look back one day at a history I was a part of, and see that time as a moment as a spark of change for humanity.
If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?
Nelson Mandela — imprisoned for nearly three decades for fighting peacefully against racial injustice. How many humans can be subject to what was such harsh and oppressive imprisonment, for so long, yet still emerge with peace in his heart and create such change? His convictions were greater than bitterness and hatred.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Family gatherings…there was so much love and so much joy.