Summer Teachers Institute Highlights

Posted on August 15th, 2013 by

The JMM convened our annual Summer Teachers Institute on July 29 at Chizuk Amuno Congregation. This three-day program focusing on Holocaust education was devoted to the theme, Confronting Genocide: Heroism During the Holocaust. The following are program highlights:

Day 1

For our first day, we invited Wanda Urbanska of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation to speak about Jan Karski, a Polish diplomat who tried to alert world leaders about the horrors of the Holocaust. Her presentation included a review of the complex history of Poland as well as details of the dramatic exploits of Jan Karski which included smuggling himself into the Lodz Ghetto as well as a transit camp where he witnessed first-hand Nazi atrocities towards Jews.

Participants listening to Wanda Urbanski’s presentation.

Participants listening to Wanda Urbanski’s presentation.

Thanks to the generosity of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, each participant received a copy of Karski’s book, Story of a Secret State, published originally in 1944. An afternoon presentation by educator Jonathan Willis demonstrated how teachers can create lesson plans based on the book that integrate Common Core standards.

Thanks to the generosity of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, each participant received a copy of Karski’s book, Story of a Secret State, published originally in 1944. An afternoon presentation by educator Jonathan Willis demonstrated how teachers can create lesson plans based on the book that integrate Common Core standards.

In the afternoon, teachers were riveted as World War II veteran Sol Goldstein shared his experiences in such seminal events as the D-Day landing, the Battle of the Bulge, and the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp.

For many teachers, it was the first time that they had heard testimony from a liberator and his presentation complemented the morning presentation and emphasized the theme of “Heroism During the Holocaust.”

For many teachers, it was the first time that they had heard testimony from a liberator and his presentation complemented the morning presentation and emphasized the theme of “Heroism During the Holocaust.”

Day 2

We spent our second day in Washington, DC at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to viewing the permanent exhibit, we also were able to tour a new exhibit Some Were Neighbors: Complicity and Collaboration During the Holocaust. This powerful exhibition documents the actions of ordinary individuals – not Nazis – who participated in a wide range of terrible acts against Jews including looting Jewish businesses, purchasing stolen property at auctions, and even taking part in the shooting squads of Jews in Eastern Europe. One of the most powerful features of the exhibition are interviews with Jewish survivors who talk about how their former friends and neighbors turned on them as well as with non-Jews who describe their participation in the Holocaust as train conductors and shooting squad members.

An afternoon presentation by USHMM scholar, Dr. Ann Millin, focused on an on-line resource created as a companion to the exhibition. Dr. Millin demonstrated many valuable features of the website which includes a vast array of educational resources.

Day 3

The last day of the workshop took place at the JMM. Teachers toured our historic synagogues as well as one of our exhibits, Zap! Pow! Bam! which provided context for our two morning sessions. Poly High School teacher Joshua Headly facilitated a session on teaching the graphic novel Maus in the classroom which was followed up by a presentation by Kristin Schenning, education director at the Maryland Historical Society, on the topic of propaganda.

The day concluded with survivor testimony by Edith Cord who was a hidden child during the Holocaust.

The day concluded with survivor testimony by Edith Cord who was a hidden child during the Holocaust.

Once again we were delighted by the response and feedback we received from teachers. Comments such as “Thank you for making me think deeply about the Holocaust and how to teach it” and “I feel better equipped to tackle the daunting task of teaching the Shoah” demonstrate the extent to which our Summer Teachers Institute provides a high quality educational experience for teachers. The JMM is grateful to our program partners: The Baltimore Jewish Council, Maryland State Department of Education, and Chizuk Amuno Congregation; and we are most appreciative of the ongoing support of our generous sponsors, Judy and Jerry Macks.

STI participants

This year’s group of participating educators was outstanding, true superheroes!

deborahA blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts by Deborah, click here.

 

 

 

 

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JMM Offers Two Summer Workshops for Teachers

Posted on June 19th, 2013 by

The Jewish Museum of Maryland is pleased to announce two summer programs for educators interested in furthering their knowledge of Holocaust history and education. Once again, we are partnering with the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC) and the Maryland State Department of Education for our annual Summer Teachers Institute taking place July 29-31. This year’s theme is Confronting Genocide: The Holocaust and Beyond.

2013 Teachers Institute flier (4) (2)

The program will take place at three venues: our first day is at Chizuk Amuno Congregation; the second at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (we provide bus transportation); and the third is at the JMM. Speakers include an educator from the Jan Karski Educational Foundation who will share educational resources with participants; a scholar from the USHMM who will talk about their newest exhibit, Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration and Complicity During the Holocaust; a Holocaust survivor and liberator who will share personal testimony about their experiences; and master teachers who will share pedagogical strategies for developing lesson plans. In addition to touring the USHMM’s permanent and new exhibits, participants will also have the chance to see the JMM’s most recent exhibit Zap! Pow! Bam! The Golden Age of Superheroes which will serve as inspiration for sessions on propaganda and teaching Maus.

Teachers at last year’s Summer Teachers Institute listening to educator Joyce Witt

Teachers at last year’s Summer Teachers Institute listening to educator Joyce Witt.

Our Summer Teachers Institute has become a cornerstone of our Holocaust education program. Comments such as “Thank you again for providing wonder-filled and inspirational information, stories, materials, educational ideas, etc., etc. We so appreciate being included in all your terrific programs” are indicative of the outstanding feedback we receive from participants year after year.

While space is quickly filling up, there are still some slots available. To register, applications are available on our website jewishmuseummd.org/summerteachersinstitute. For more information about the program, contact me at dcardin@jewishmuseummd.org.

New this year is a second summer workshop, the result of a partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, the BJC, and Baltimore City Schools. We are pleased to offer a five-day course August 5-9 taking place at the JMM focusing on Holocaust and Human Behavior. This program is open to high school teachers (who teach in any school) who plan on teaching a dedicated Holocaust course in the upcoming year.

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Registration is through Facing History and Ourselves: facinghistory.org/professionaldevelopment.

The JMM is proud to serve as an educational resource for teachers on Holocaust education. If you teach or are just interested in the subject matter, please feel free to join us this summer!

deborahA blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. Read other posts by Deborah here!

 

 

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Rescue and Resistance: Responding to Evil During the Holocaust

Posted on August 13th, 2012 by

A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin.

The JMM and BJC held our 8th annual Summer Teachers Institute last week. With more than 60 teachers in attendance – representing public, parochial, and independent schools from across the state and even as far away as Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia – this year’s program marked our largest gathering to date. One of the challenges we face each year as we plan our agenda is developing a program that satisfies the interests and expectations of both new participants as well as the cohort of teachers who attend each year. For the past several years, we have begun exploring specific Holocaust-related topics in depth over the course of three days. The theme for this year’s program was rescue and resistance.

Our program commenced on Monday am with a welcome from Dr. Nancy Grasmick, former State Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Grasmick has been a wonderful friend and supporter of the JMM and we were delighted to have her on hand as we launched our workshop.

Our focus on Monday was exploring the motivations and experiences of non-Jewish individuals who risked their lives to assist Jews. Stanlee Stahl, Executive Vice President of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, talked about the work that her organization undertakes to recognize these individuals. (For more information about the JFR and to learn about individual rescuers, check out their website www.jfr.org)  It was fascinating to learn about the diversity of individuals who provided assistance. In the words of Stanlee “Biography is not destiny” meaning that there is no typical profile of rescuers. They came from many different backgrounds and had a variety of reasons for lending a hand. One grim fact shared that fewer than 1% of the non-Jewish population of Nazi occupied Europe provided assistance (using statistics gathered by Yad VaShem), reinforced the message that rescue activity was incredibly rare thus making the stories of those who did do something to combat Nazi terror all the more amazing. Stanlee concluded her presentation with a screening of a DVD documenting a reunion that the JFR recently sponsored between a Holocaust survivor and her rescuer. When the lights went on at the conclusion of the screening, there was hardly a dry eye left in the room. Each teacher received posters from the JFR highlighting character traits exemplified by rescuers along with a curriculum for using the posters in their classroom.

Each year, we spend our second day at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC where participants have the opportunity to view the permanent and special exhibitions. In the afternoon, the USHMM lent us their classroom space for presentations by two members of their education department. Christina Chavarria, Program Coordinator for National Outreach for Teacher Initiatives, provided teachers with useful guidelines for teaching about resistance. She also presented participants with many wonderful museum resources including the beautiful catalog to their current special exhibition, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.

Our second presenter at the USHMM spoke about a new exhibit that is scheduled to open this spring. Tim Kaiser, Director of Education Initiatives, has been a member of the planning team that is developing Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration and Complicity During the Holocaust. This groundbreaking exhibit interprets the motivations and experiences of those who assisted the Nazis in their efforts to exterminate Europe’s Jews. Too often people ascribe to the notion that the sole responsibility for the Holocaust lay with Hitler and the Nazis. This exhibit seeks to dispel this myth by examining the many different levels of individual culpability and asks an important question, “If you witness something, do you become part of the story?”  This presentation left us all eagerly anticipating returning to view this important exhibit.

Our last day of the Institute focused on Jewish resistance. Dr. Joyce Witt, an educator with Jewish Partisans Educational Foundation, presented teachers with resource materials and demonstrated how to use their “Teaching with Defiance” curriculum. Interspersing clips from the film with important facts about Jewish partisans and suggestions for teaching the topic with students, Dr. Witt’s presentation was well received from teachers. [To learn more about JPEF, check out their website http:///www.jewishpartisans.org/]

 

We were then privileged to have the opportunity to hear Holocaust survivors Howard and Esther Kaidanow share their own experiences as partisans during the Holocaust. What a powerful way for our group to make the connection with the content provided by Dr. Witt. Teachers sat mesmerized as both Mr. and Mrs. Kaidanow shared their memories.

We were overwhelmed by the response we received from teachers at the conclusion of the program. Sample comments include:

“Thank you, Gracias, Merci, thanks to you, your staff for three beautiful days…Thanks for giving me more insight of the Holocaust that I might in turn enlighten teachers and share with others.”

“Thank you again for providing wonder-filled and inspirational information, stories, materials, educational ideas, etc., etc. We so appreciate being included in all your terrific programs.”

“Thank you so much for all of the wonderful materials and ideas from other teachers and first-hand accounts from people who lived it. It was an awesome 3 days.” 

The success of our Summer Teachers Institute was possible thanks to the generosity of so many individuals and organizations. Many thanks to JMM and BJC staff for all of their assistance with planning the program; to JMM intern extraordinaire Ariella Esterson for handling the many logistical details; to our partners at MSDE and Towson University for promoting the program and helping us determine workshop content; for our hosts at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation for providing us with such a beautiful space on Wednesday; to all of our speakers and to the USHMM, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, and the Jewish Partisans Educational Foundation for providing such a wealth of resources and information for teachers. And most of all, we offer our sincere gratitude to our donors with special thanks to Judy and Jerry Macks.

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