Teaching Lessons from the Past to Create a Brighter Future

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More than 70 years after the Holocaust, religious hatred, racism and genocide still threaten our world. As part of its work to create a more just society, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Jewish Community Relations Council provides a variety of opportunities for community members to learn about the horrors of the Shoah. Last year, the Jewish Federation engaged nearly 3,000 people of all ages in Holocaust education programming.

This year, two of the Jewish Community Relations Council’s most effective Holocaust education programs are marking more than 40 years of helping young community members learn about, and from, the Holocaust: the Annual Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition and Exhibition and the Youth Symposium on the Holocaust.  Please see below for details on each program and to learn how local students can participate.

The 2016 Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Exhibition at The Galleries at Moore.
The 2016 Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Exhibition at The Galleries at Moore.

Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition and Exhibition

Named in honor of the young leader who led Jewish resistance against Nazi tyranny in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, the Mordechai Anielewicz competition encourages all students in grades seven through 12 in the Greater Philadelphia area to learn about and respond to the Holocaust through creative expression.

Competition entries must focus on themes that encourage students to view the Holocaust through a broad perspective of historical experience, reflecting upon its lessons in terms of their relevance to contemporary social and political issues.

The categories are: creative writing — essays, short stories, poems or dramatic scripts; music — original vocal or instrumental work written for solo, ensemble, band or orchestral presentation; visual arts — artwork in any media including painting, sculpture, prints, photography, film and digital media; and creative dance — solo or group performances. Gift cards will be awarded to winners in three grade groupings — 7th/8th, 9th/10th and 11th/12th. Please note that each student must submit an individual online entry form, even for collaborative entries.

All entrants receive a certificate honoring their participation; visual art entries are eligible for inclusion in the June 2017 exhibition at Moore College of Art and Design. All awards will be presented at the June 2017 award ceremony held at Moore College.

Competition sponsors include The Memorial Committee for the Six Million Jewish Martyrs of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, The Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, Blank Rome LLP, Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors Association of Philadelphia, Sons and Daughters of Holocaust Survivors, The Samuel Pelta Holocaust Education Endowment Fund, The Firm of Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstock and Dodig and Moore College of Art and Design.

The deadline for all entries is March 10, 2017. For a list of themes, detailed entry requirements, resources, accepted formats and the online entry form, visit jewishphilly.org/holocaust. For general information, contact Beth Razin at 215-832-0536 or [email protected] For Holocaust class curriculum support and recommendations on age-appropriate resources, contact Josey Fisher at [email protected]

From left: Manya Perel and Goldie Slivovitz of the Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. Photos provided
From left: Manya Perel and Goldie Slivovitz of the Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. Photos provided

Youth Symposium on the Holocaust

Today’s high school students are the last generation who can hear rich, first-hand experiences from

Holocaust survivors. Their life stories transcend the decades and teach others about the need to be responsible citizens who help create a more just, accepting and diverse society. Local classes are encouraged to take advantage of this important opportunity during the annual Youth Symposium on the Holocaust hosted by the Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council. New this year, funding for public school groups to attend may be available that could cover all related costs, including transportation.

The symposium programs are open to all students in Greater Philadelphia in grades nine through 12 and are offered from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on these four dates:

  • Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia
  • Thursday, March 16, 2017, at West Chester University in West Chester
  • Tuesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 23, 2017, at Gratz College in Melrose Park

Each program includes an introductory session with a film, a small group dialogue with Holocaust survivors and a dynamic keynote presentation. The program fee is $4 for each student and teacher, and includes lunch. Additionally, a special professional-development

session for teachers will include training with the “Echoes and Reflections” curriculum. All teachers who are new to the symposium receive a free copy of the curriculum, which includes valuable information to help educators teach the complex issues of the Holocaust to today’s students.

Youth Symposium sponsors include the Anti-Defamation League, Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Catholic Education, Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, Blank Rome LLP, Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors Association, Dr. Boris and Minna Anolik Endowment Fund for Holocaust Education, Friends Council on Education, Gratz College Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center, Jewish War Veterans Post 697, Julius and Ray Charlestein Foundation, Memorial Committee for the Six Million Jewish Martyrs of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia, National Council of Jewish Women, School District of Philadelphia-Division of Social Studies Education, St. Joseph’s University—Jewish-Catholic Institute, and West Chester University.

To register for the symposium, visit jewishphilly.org/symposium. For more information, contact Beth Razin at [email protected] or 215-832-0536. (Call to confirm if you would like to bring more than 50 students to one site.) The last day to register is Feb. 10, 2017; early registration is advised. There are no refunds for cancellations made less than 48 hours before the symposium.

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