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May 8, 2020 3:46 pm

Isaiah Kuperstein, 70, Holocaust Educator

avatar by Gary Shapiro

Isaiah Kuperstein (right). Photo; Daniel Kuperstein.

Isaiah Kuperstein, 70, who was the first Director of Education at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., died April 4 of the coronavirus.

He co-curated its exhibition for young persons, “Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story.” Museum visitors follow a boy, named for Kuperstein’s son, in a ghetto and then a concentration camp.

According to the Times of Israel, The Holocaust Memorial Museum thought it would be temporary: “But it remains largely untouched today. An estimated 14 million people have walked through it since.”

Kuperstein “was known for his big, booming voice and even bigger personality,” according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 

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He was born in Haifa and was the son of Holocaust survivors who later came to the United States. He earned degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University.

In 1980, he became the founding director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he worked “out of a small, donated office space where he made a reality of the center’s missions of educating about the Holocaust and combating intolerance.”

After five years there, he went to Washington to work at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, from 1985 to 1990, arriving while it was still being created.

The Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) writes that he then ran a chain of grocery stores in Indianapolis called Double 8, which closed its last four stores in 2015.

According to JTA, after 43 years of marriage, Kuperstein still called his wife Elana “‘his ‘bride’ and often held her hand in public.”

His son Daniel Kuperstein told the Algemeiner that his father was so sharing of his time with his family. He said that preserving Yiddish culture was important to his father. He told the Algemeiner, “His love for tradition and family were strong.”

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