Posted on August 26th, 2015 by Rachel
This year’s Summer Teachers Institute focused on a seminal event that recently took place, the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. For an excellent summary of the program, please see intern, Eden Cho’s recent blog post: Three Days Later…. Having recently had the opportunity to review teacher evaluations from the workshop, I thought I’d take the opportunity to report on the impact that our annual program has on participants and how it shapes what and how they teach their students.
This year’s Summer Teachers Institute flyer
This year marked the 11th anniversary of this annual program. Since its inception in 2005, it has been a joy to have the opportunity to meet such a diverse group of dedicated educators willing to give up part of their summer vacation in order to enhance their pedagogical skills on a difficult topic. What is always interesting is that the program attracts both new participants each year as well as repeat attendees (including a handful that have participated for more than 5 years!) While it is challenging coming up with new program content year after year that meets the needs of teachers who are new to teaching Holocaust history and literature as well as those who are more seasoned, we are fortunate to have access to an incredible group of scholars and master educators who facilitate sessions on a wide variety of topics.
A total of 38 people representing many different schools and disciplines participated this year. The majority represented public schools (including Baltimore City and Baltimore and Harford Counties). Other participants teach at while independent, Catholic and Jewish congregational schools as well as universities and we had one home-school educator.
While the fact that so many teachers elect to return year after year is one measure of the high quality of the program and the many benefits it offers, we also conduct surveys that provide us with valuable feedback. This year’s evaluations provided us with insightful feedback. Nearly all the sessions were rated by participants with the highest marks. Teachers also expressed their appreciation for the quality of the presenters and the abundance of resource material that they received. The following are sample participant comments.
*I liked how we started with Auschwitz film and survivor story, then went backwards to discuss the history.
*Agenda was well developed and followed. Guest speakers were well versed in the content and kept the group involved.
*Superlative speakers who provided different visions of Auschwitz- informative, great presenters.
*I know from talking with Louise (Gezcy) that there was a last minute change in the program. You did a wonderful job making it work so smoothly.
*It is great to hear from the practicing educator. Thank you for your great energy, Louise (Gezcy)!
*Wow! What an inspiration Bluma (Shapiro) is! To have gone through what she did, yet be willing to share her story and teach important lessons about life is simply amazing. She is a portrait of perseverance, forgiveness, and positivity!
*A blessing to meet living history! Thanks.
*I could listen to Shiri (Sandler) all day! A marvelous presentation, not just about the background of Auschwitz, but how to read photos and artifacts! Great job!
*A wealth of information. A very concise history of Auschwitz, the Jewish community, and what the Germans chose it. Very interesting! Very interesting lens of looking at Auschwitz before it became the death camp. Shiri is very energetic and knowledgeable. Thank you! Great resources.
*[Heller Kreshtool] was a pleasure! Great decision to place her as the last session. Refreshing perspective I hadn’t considered much.
*The story of a child of survivors is critical to how we now teach the Holocaust.
*Doesn’t matter how many times I visit (the USHMM), it’s still powerful.
*This was an excellent opportunity (presentation by Dr. White and Dr. Cohen) to discover how to teach complexity and depth in investigative skills to our students.
*Very useful information (Centropa presentation)! Amazing website full of information! Liked being given time to play around with the website. Novel theme: show whole person, not just person as victim.
This was an excellent opportunity (conversation with Fr. Bob and Rabbi Josh) for guided dialogue with the presenters as facilitators.
Great overview of 4 graphic novels! Good reasons to use graphic novels. Also gave novel recommendations for children. Dynamic speaker (Josh Headley)!
Thank you, and your staff, for another insightful Summer Teachers Institute!
Thanks again for this amazing experience. The institute was great and I feel lucky that I was able to participate.
Because our Summer Teachers Institute meets the qualifications of both the Maryland State Department of Education as well as Baltimore City Public Schools for high quality professional development (in order to qualify, we need to submit an application for review), we are able to offer participants professional development credit. In order to be eligible for the credit, they must turn in a written reflection (for MSDE credit) as well as an implementation plan (i.e. lesson plan, for Baltimore City). These reflections and teaching plans provide another measure for assessing programmatic impact as they demonstrate which aspect of the programs are most useful for teachers and which resources they plan on using. It was gratifying to learn from this year’s submissions that teachers plan on integrating content from each session as well as many of the websites, books and lesson plan resources they received. Evaluations and reflections also provide important feedback as we plan for next year’s program.
We are grateful to our program sponsors, Jerry and Judy Macks, the Klein Sandler Family Fund and the Conference for Claims Against Germany for making our Summer Teachers Institute possible and for enabling us to reach out to such a diverse group of educators and provide them with valuable classroom resources.
A blog post by Deputy Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.
Posted on July 24th, 2015 by Rachel
The JMM’s current exhibition, Cinema Judaica, has inspired me to spend my evenings watching old movies. Some of these films I’ve been meaning to watch for a while and just never got around to doing so while others caught my interest while studying the film posters on display or learning about them from film scholar and exhibit curator, Ken Sutak.
One film I have always meant to watch is Exodus and despite reading (and loving) the book it is based on by Leon Uris, never seemed to find the time to do so.
Exodus – poster now on view in Cinema Judaica!
The 1961 epic film tells the story of the fight to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine after the tragedy of the Holocaust and is based on a true life event, the attempt to resettle hundreds of Jewish refugees who were living in DP camps by sailing them through the British blockade to Palestine.
Some people might be surprised to learn that the actual story of the Exodus has a Maryland connection. The ship that became known as the Exodus started out in 1928 as the SS President Warfield, a flagship of the “Old Bay Line” and originally served as a luxury overnight steamer that sailed between Baltimore and Norfolk.
Old Bay Line
In 1942 the U.S. government requisitioned the vessel and loaned it to England as an amphibious training vessel. Returned to the U.S. Navy in 1944, it became the command and control ship for the Allied invasion fleet off Normandy Beach and later a troop transport. The Hagana, a Jewish underground organization, purchased the ship and converted it in Baltimore to a Jewish refugee ship to run the British blockade of Palestine (the events depicted in the film). Unlike the film, which presents a fictionalized account of the ship’s safe arrival in Palestine (with the approval of the British), in reality, while still in international waters British warships rammed the boat, and royal marines boarded it. These actions resulted in 3 deaths and 149 injuries to the refugees who were returned to Europe. However, although unsuccessful in its mission, this dramatic final voyage and its aftermath drew world media attention to the plight of European Jewry and helped turn public support in favor of the establishment of Israel. The Warfield/Exodus,1947 became the “ship that launched a nation.” (Click here for more details about the historical events.)
Thanks to the efforts of former JMM staff member and Exodus scholar-extraordinaire, Dr. Barry Lever, we have several related artifacts in our collections. Dr. Lever spearheaded a community-wide commemoration in 1995 which resulted in the creation of a tapestry,
This tapestry was designed by Alex Gelfenboim in 1995 and stitched with the help of community volunteers,
a ship model,
the issuing of a commemorative stamp,
and the dedication of a plaque at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor (in front of the World Trade Center).
If you have not had a chance to see the film (or have not seen it in a while), I enthusiastically recommend doing so. While it is indeed long (clocking in at about 3 ½ hours), having the chance to watch Paul Newman as hero, Ari Ben Canaan, is definitely an enjoyable way to pass some time!
A blog post by Deputy Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.
Posted on April 23rd, 2015 by Rachel
On April 23, 2015 Jews throughout the world celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaot, Israel’s Independence Day. In honor of Israel’s 67th birthday, today’s blog post highlights the contributions of Harry Greenstein who was involved in the resettlement of European Jews in Israel after the Holocaust. Thanks to the efforts of many, including Greenstein, Israel lived up to its mandate of serving as place of respite and shelter for Jews in need of a homeland.
Harry Greenstein was the Executive Director of the Associated Jewish Charities (today known as The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore) for 37 years from 1928-1965. His involvement in providing assistance to European Jewish refugees in the 1940s led to a federal appointment as the head of the UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) for Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia. (For more information about the UNRAA, check out this article.)
In 1949, the Secretary of War appointed Greenstein Advisor on Jewish Affairs in post-war Germany. Part of his duties included assisting the United States Army in closing the Displaced Persons (DP) Camps in Germany and Austria, helping to rehabilitate Jewish life in Europe and aiding in the resettlement of Jewish refugees in Israel.
Harry Greenstein speaking in Munich on the first anniversary of Israel’s establishment, 1949 JMM 1971.20.156
In 1971 the JMM received a donation of Greenstein’s papers and photographs (MS 80). The collection includes photos from his visits to Israel and Europe on behalf of UNRRA as well as his efforts to resettle Jewish Displaced Persons in Israel in the late 1940s. The following is a selection of photos documenting his work:
Photo of document checking station taken during UNRAA trip to Middle East, 1944. JMM 1971.20.155
Photo taken during UNRAA trip to Middle East, 1944. JMM.1971.20.159
Jewish Displaced Persons board an airplane from Munich to Haifa, September 1948. JMM 1971.20.175
Young Jewish refugees who had been resettled in Holland by the JDC, on board the SS Negbah, on their way to Israel, Dec. 15, 1945. JMM 1971.20.176. For more information about the “Apeldoorn children” check out this article.
Greenstein was a recognized leader of the local, national and international Jewish community. The photos taken of him with Israeli dignitaries speak to his prominence on the global stage.
Greenstein (right) visits with President Chaim Weitzman at the President’s home in Rehovot, Israel, 1949. JMM 1971.20.233
Greenstein receiving a book from Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, 1949. JMM 1971.20.192
Sixty-seven years later, Israel continues to serve as a homeland for Jews from all over the world.
A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.