Educators Visit Westchester and
Gather for Holocaust Education
Twenty educators from 15 US states along with two teachers from the EU were in New York City for an advanced program on teaching Holocaust history and human rights from July 5-16. The seminar took place at a time when hate crimes and extremism are on the rise, and while social justice and human rights education are under attack in many states across the US.
Middle school, high school, and college educators were selected to participate in the summer seminar which encourages participants to think creatively and collaboratively about how they teach the Holocaust, genocide, and social justice. The seminar was hosted by The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights, TOLI.us, a New York-based nonprofit organization that conducts such programs across the US and ten countries in Europe. The New York seminar is the flagship program of ten such programs organized by TOLI across the US.
On July 8, the group went to Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains and met with Rabbi Shira Milgrom. On another day, there was a klezmer performance by Rabbi Greg Wall.
TOLI’s seminars are designed to encourage educators to examine the roots of intolerance, antisemitism and racism, how perspectives have the capacity to change, and how educators can enlarge understanding of ancient and contemporary hatreds. The program includes Holocaust experts and a survivor, Native American and prominent Black American educators to speak about persecution and racism in their respective communities.
The seminar is led by Dr. Sondra Perl, author of “On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate,” and Scarsdale resident, Dr. Jennifer Lemberg, co-editor of “Becoming a Holocaust Educator: Purposeful Pedagogy Through Inquiry.” Speakers include Brenda Johnston on the history and perspective of her Native American tribe, the Blackfeet, in Montana; Dr. Shanedra Nowell on the Tulsa Race Massacre; Dr. Michelle Sadrena Pledger on liberatory pedagogy and “freedom dreaming;” Lacy Watson on remembrance, resilience, and resistance; Tracei Willis on racialized trauma; and testimony from Holocaust survivor Dr. Irene Hasenberg Butter.
The Olga Lengyel Institute was established to educate teachers in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world about human rights and social justice through the lens of the Holocaust and other genocides so that such atrocities may never again take place.