Houston Matters

Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom

Writer, teacher, and artist Ariel Burger discusses what he learned about life and faith from working alongside the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate.

Elie Wiesel and Ariel Burger
Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel with his longtime teaching assistant Ariel Burger.

Witness - BookAs a young man, Ariel Burger was wrestling with questions and doubt about his faith and religious identity.

But, when he sat down with noted author, Holocaust survivor, and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel in a Jerusalem hotel in his early 20s, he remembers Wiesel assuring him that questions and doubt were actually essential to one’s faith and belief.

Now, many years later and after serving as Wiesel’s teaching assistant, Burger has written a book chronicling his intimate conversations with his mentor over the decades. It’s called Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom.

Elie Wiesel
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.

In the audio above, Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn talks with Burger about the lessons he learned from Wiesel in teaching, spirituality, and humanity.

Burger will be in Houston for an April 14 event at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center. Registration is required in advance by April 10.

Ariel Burger
Ariel Burger was the long-time teaching assistant for Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

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Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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