Monday, March 27, 2023

The Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center (HHREC), formerly known as both the Westchester Holocaust Education Center and the Westchester Holocaust Commission, was founded in 1990. The organization’s purpose is to memorialize the victims of the Holocaust and to honor the survivors, rescuers and liberators. Serving Westchester, Fairfield and neighboring counties, its mission “is to enhance the teaching and learning of the lessons of the Holocaust and the right of all people to be treated with dignity and respect. We encourage students to speak up and act against all forms of bigotry and prejudice.”

On Wednesday, January 18, HHREC will host “Learning about the Holocaust Through Narrative,” the second in its series of “Supper Seminars.” The seminars, although informational, are designed for professional educators, English-language arts and social studies teachers and school librarians, and will take a pedagogical approach, giving pointers about what to look for when teaching Holocaust literature.

HHREC recently reintroduced the “Supper Seminars” for teachers, so they could learn about topics from specialists in the field. These events have been planned and led by Steven Goldberg, co-director of education, Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center.

“The ‘Supper Seminars’ are designed to provide teachers with both content and pedagogical strategies to teach this highly critical mandated subject,” said Goldberg. “By using experts in the field, it is our hope that the teachers who attend will be able to go beyond the basics into the more nuanced topics and find the right ‘hooks’ to engage their students. These seminars also provide teachers with great networking opportunities to connect with teachers from different schools to share their experiences and learn from others who are teaching the same subjects. The pandemic created a world where teachers were in their own ‘silos.’ Teachers welcome the chance to come together, share a meal and interact with the scholars and their peers.”

Participants of “Learning Bbout the Holocaust Through Narrative” will explore the power of Holocaust short stories and poetry to engage middle and high school students in an age-appropriate, chronological study of the Holocaust. During the seminar, a variety of short, classroom-friendly texts will be examined. Participants will also be able to join in analyzing methodologies and materials designed to help students understand the Holocaust through the thoughts, words, actions and reactions of those who were there and of those who live in the shadow of the Holocaust.

Karen Shawn, Ph.D., director of educational outreach of the Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies of Yeshiva University will be facilitator/presenter of the January 18 program. Dr. Shawn, a former ELA teacher, uses her experience to connect teacher training to teaching the Holocaust. During the seminar, she will suggest eight guiding principles for selecting books and stories for independent, whole-class, small-group reading and for library acquisition. Educators will receive a copy of her book “The Call of Memory.”

The third “Supper Seminar” in the series,“Soccer Under the Swastika: Teaching on Survival and Resistance during the Holocaust,” will be presented on Thursday, February 9. The presenter will be Dr. Kevin Simpson, professor of psychology, John Brown University and author of the book “Soccer Under the Swastika.” Surprisingly, soccer emerged in the Nazi camps and ghettos as an inspiration and a means of survival. During this seminar, Dr. Simpson will share these powerful stories of resistance that combine psychology with this little-known history of sport during the Holocaust. In addition to engaging discussions, teachers will receive sample lesson plans. Educators will receive a copy of Dr. Simpson’s book.

“Supper Seminars” meet from 4:30-6:30 PM in person at the HHREC office. The registration fee is $20. Participation is limited to 20 educators, and participants will receive two CTLE credits.

The HHREC is located at 4 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, New York. For more information contact Steven Goldberg, [email protected] or call 914-696-0738.

HHREC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Susan R. Eisenstein is a longtime Jewish educator, passionate about creating special, innovative activities for her students. She is also passionate about writing about Jewish topics and about Israel. She has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education from Columbia University.

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