Kathy and Richard Leventhal

Commitment and Capacity

Kathy and Richard Leventhal are longtime supporters of USC Shoah Foundation because of its unparalleled capacity to build bridges of empathy between diverse cultures through the novel use of technology.

“As a research university that constantly pushes the boundaries for innovation and imagination, USC can galvanize the Institute’s projects to enlighten students and educators — and, hopefully, help to inculcate a standard for tolerance that will have real staying power,” says Kathy, who serves on the USC Board of Trustees.

The couple is particularly excited about the New Dimensions in Testimony project, which allows testimonies to be shared through interactive three-dimensional holograms that facilitate engagement with survivors. “Having seen a demonstration and having learned how new technology enables real-time interaction with a Holocaust survivor is extremely powerful,” says Kathy. “The authenticity of that exchange leaves an indelible impression.”

The Institute’s preservation of the past is crucial, notes Richard. “Historians say that institutions have no capacity to learn because only people have memories,” he adds. “USC Shoah Foundation is proving this premise to be false by preserving the memories in testimony and thereby institutionalizing the memory so that history will — hopefully — not repeat itself.”

When they traveled to Poland as part of the Institute’s delegation marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Leventhal’s were able to see history firsthand. “No matter how much I had previously read of the Holocaust and, in particular, about Auschwitz, it all paled in the face of seeing the magnitude of the atrocity,” says Richard.

“USC Shoah Foundation resonates for the educational impact that it can have in understanding yesterday, today, and tomorrow — culturally, religiously, psychologically, and politically,” adds Kathy.