Please note that the October 29 event “Music & Memory: Songs Lost and Found” featuring Matthew Lazar has been postponed. 

The 2023 Elie Wiesel Memorial Lecture Series explores the music beloved by Elie Wiesel, one of the world’s greatest humanitarians whose writings and work for peace are known around the globe. What is not as well-known is Professor Wiesel’s deep love for music and the meanings music held for him. The author of a cantata, music inspired Elie Wiesel in his writings and spiritual life.

Sept. 27: Songs and Stories

The first Elie Wiesel Memorial Lecture of this year, Songs and Stories, featured Dr. Henry Knight and Cantor Deborah Katchko Gray. Dr. Knight, former director of the Cohen Center For Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College and a close friend of Elie Wiesel, discussed the relationship between Elie Wiesel’s writings and his music. Cantor Deborah Katchko Gray presented her profound ties to Elie Wiesel and his music as she explored the meaning of Hasidic tunes in spiritual life that inspired Elie Wiesel and presented clips of Elie Wiesel’s songs.

About the Speakers: 

Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray is a 4th generation cantor and Founder of the Women Cantors’ Network. Deborah has served Congregation Shir Shalom in Connecticut since 1999. She is the first recipient of the Debbie Friedman Miriam Award. Deborah has ten recordings and two books; Katchko-Three Generations of Cantorial Art and Prayerful Creations. She is in “Modern Judaica — Today’s Makers, Today’s Sacred Objects.” Her story is included in “The Invisible Thread- A Portrait of American Jewish Women.”  Her archives are in the American Jewish Archives and National Museum of American Jewish History. Her Elie Wiesel  papers and memorabilia are housed in the Mugar Library at BU. She is writing a book, “Class Notes — A Lifetime of Learning with Elie Wiesel.” The Jewish Broadcasting Service plays her presentation on Songs and Stories of Elie Wiesel every Yom Hashoah. Deborah recently helped form The Women of the Wall Choir. Learn more at her website,

Dr. Henry Knight is Professor Emeritus of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the former Director of the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College in New Hampshire. He is the co-chair of the biennial Steven S. Weinstein Holocaust Symposium and a retired member of the United Methodist clergy. Knight served as chaplain and member of the departments of Religious Studies at The University of Tulsa and Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio. He is a past president of the Annual Scholars Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches and is a member of the Readers Committee for the Elie Wiesel Foundation’s Prize in Ethics Contest.

Music & Memory: Songs Lost and Found (postponed)

The second lecture, Music & Memory: Songs Lost and Found, will feature Matthew Lazar, Founder and Director of the Zamir Choral Foundation, of which Elie Wiesel was the Honorary Chairman for a quarter of a century. Maestro Lazar is a renowned conductor of Jewish music who had a close personal and musical relationship with Elie Wiesel and conducted him several times. Through video, audio, personal recollections, and live performances, Lazar will bring to life little-known aspects of Elie Wiesel’s musical world and the depth of his musical connections.