Author to raise tough questions on antisemitism at Lions and Poms event

Award-winning author Liza Wiemer will give Lions and Pomegranates a lot to think about with the portrait of modern antisemitism that she’ll present at the first Lion of Judah and Pomegranate event of the Jewish Federation’s 2024 Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs.

The enlightening, interactive program on Thursday, October 5, will center on her novel “The Assignment,” which is based on a real incident that happened in New York State in 2018. The novel has received over a dozen honors, and Wiemer was named to Algemeiner Journal’s 2021 list of the Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life.

Wiemer forces her audience to confront not-so-obvious truths about antisemitism. Readers can’t escape having to ponder and answer not-so-simple questions like, What would you do?

Her young adult novel brings to life the story of a two high school students who challenge a homework assignment to argue in favor of the Final Solution. The pair object to what they see as a dehumanizing discussion about the extermination of the Jewish people.

Their protest against a task assigned by a beloved teacher does not sit well with many in the school administration, the student body and the community. Their responses display a herd-mentality alarmingly reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

Their reaction raises the question of why people tend not to speak out against hate. “The number one reason, especially for young adults, is the fear of becoming a target for bullying and retribution,” Wiemer said in an interview with Moment magazine. People also may simply freeze up, or think they should mind their own business.

“One of the reasons I wrote this book is to empower readers to rise above instincts and fears and become upstanders,” she continued in the interview. “It portrays how speaking out can be a challenge, but is critical for positive change.”

Asked why antisemitism has attracted so much attention recently, she answered, “Because it has become acceptable.” Not enough non-Jewish allies call out actions are wrong. With antisemites able to operate anonymously on the internet and in social media, she said, host sites and the public must respond. “Silence only allows antisemitism to grow,” she said.

“The Assignment” is Wiemer’s second novel. She also has had two nonfiction books published, as well as articles in various newspapers and magazines. She has been an educator for over 20 years and has given more than 300 presentations and workshops worldwide.

The Lions and Poms event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Eileen Fischmann. A minimum gift of $1,800 to the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs is required to attend.

RSVP before September 18 by calling 610-821-5500 or by clicking on the October 5 event at After you register, a copy of “The Assignment” will be delivered to you.