Posted on May 18th, 2011 by Rachel
It is a Tuesday night, and a group of teens are gathered in a conference room at the JCC, laughing, talking with one another, and eating pizza. Suddenly the room grows quiet as Holocaust survivor Rachel Bodner begins talking about her experiences as a hidden child during the Holocaust. Students listen intently as she shares her story, and then ask her questions.
students listening to Holocaust survivor, Rachel Bodner
As Mrs. Bodner concludes her talk, a second speaker, George Mushayuma speaks about his experiences during a more recent instance of tragedy as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
students listening to George Mushayuma
Lessons of the Shoah students with Mrs. Bodner and Mr. Mushayuma
While learning about the Holocaust and contemporary genocide is being taught in classrooms throughout the Maryland, what is unique about this particular evening is that the audience includes teens from several different schools. These teens have elected to participate in Lessons of the Shoah, an interfaith initiative bringing together Catholic and Jewish high school students for a year-long series of programs that fosters dialogue and understanding among high school students of diverse backgrounds. Currently in its third year, and jointly sponsored by the JMM and Baltimore Jewish Council, students spend evenings learning with one another about basic tenets central to Judaism and Catholicism.
students listening as Father Robert Albright presents a talk on the Parting of the Way
While several sessions feature speakers, the emphasis is on having students share with one another their own personal reflections of the importance of faith in their lives. Field trips to the Jewish Museum of Maryland and Baltimore Basilica (http:///www.baltimorebasilica.org/) provide additional opportunities for exploring ritual objects and sacred space. The goal of these programs is to encourage teens to learn from one another as they have opportunities to meet, socialize, and study together.
book group discussion on teen diaries
Students learn about the Holocaust, by reading diaries of teens who perished, listening to and meeting Holocaust survivors, and by visiting the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (www.ushmm.org). Discussions and lessons about the Holocaust serve as a tool for inspiring participants to take action against contemporary injustices, and students work together on a group project that seeks to raise attention about a contemporary issue. Last year’s group decided to focus their attention on contemporary genocide in Darfur and took up a collection for shoes to send to victims. This year, the group decided to band together to combat bullying – a topic that has been in the news lately due to several prominent news stories about the tragic consequences of teens harassing their peers. At each session, students get together to brainstorm ways for raising awareness of this problem and to gather resources to advocate against bullying in schools.
The program culminates with student participation in the community Yom Hashoah program. Participants shared their group project with guests and walked in the ceremony’s processional. It was touching to see how much the program meant to the teens after spending the year learning about the Holocaust and the importance of tolerance.
On Tuesday, May 17, students, parents, and teachers gathered at Emmanuel Monastery for our final program celebrating their successful completion of the program. Students shared their reflections of what they have gained by participating in the Lessons of the Shoah as well as their future plans.
Congratulations to the Lessons of the Shoah class of 2011. We enjoyed spending the year getting to know you and are proud of your accomplishments!
To learn more about Lessons of the Shoah, contact Deborah Cardin at (410) 732-6400 x236 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
A blog post by Education Director Deborah Cardin.
Posted on August 19th, 2009 by admin
It’s hard to believe that we have already wrapped up hosting our fifth annual Holocaust education workshop! What started as a fairly small program has grown into a three day event in early August that included trips to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and
American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center. The 34 participants represented a fascinating diversity of backgrounds and specialties. Here’s the breakdown:
- Anne Arundel public schools: 1
- Baltimore City public schools: 6
- Baltimore County public schools: 2
- Carroll County public schools: 6
- Cecil County public schools: 2
- Frederick County public schools: 1
- Howard County public schools: 3
- Jewish schools: 3
- Archdiocese of Baltimore: 4
- Graduate students: 3
- JMM volunteers: 2
- Maryland State Department of Education administrator: 1
Here are a couple of photos from Monday at the JMM:
Dr. Nicole Dombrowski of Towson University shares their online digitized archive of materials relating to the Nuremberg Trials.
Storyteller Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff introduces students from Goucher College who have focused on learning and sharing personal testimonies.
Teachers learned about additional resources like this trunk of materials that is available to rent from the Baltimore Jewish Council.
Additionally, participants listened to survivors, watched documentaries, learned best practices from award-winning teachers, received introductions to humanitarian law and Israeli history, explored social action in contemporary situations, heard about education practices in Russia, visited exhibitions, and so much more!
Some of the overwhelmingly positive feedback that we received:
- Thanks so much for the GREAT food, excellent planning, and phenomenal resources!! I am very appreciative of this fabulous institute!!
- Thanks for everything!! Excellent job! Great info!!
- Great job, excellent resources & diversity in topics/speakers
- Wonderful workshop! One of the best I’ve ever taken.
- This was a great experience!
- This was an incredible conference! Thank you for bringing in so many terrific speakers. We learned a lot in a very short amount of time. I was impressed with the breadth of knowledge spanned by the speakers!
- Wonderful seminar – I can’t wait to take it again!
If you are interested in participating next year, please email education coordinator, Lauren Silberman, at email@example.com to be notified.