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Testimonials

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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Friday, July 21, 2017

The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) has selected 22 middle and high school teachers from 10 states, Croatia and Poland, and three Holocaust Center educators, as 2017 Alfred Lerner Fellows to delve into the complex history of the Holocaust as well as discuss new teaching techniques for introducing the subject of the Holocaust into their classrooms. The Summer Institute, an intensive five-day course, was held at Columbia University from June 25th through June 29th.

The program is a high-level, intensive academic seminar in which participants are exposed to Holocaust survivors such as Roman Kent and to noted Holocaust scholars including: Volker Berghahn, Doris Bergen, Jeffrey Burds, Lawrence Douglas, Henry Feingold, Peter Hayes, Michael Marrus, Steven Field, Michael Steinlauf, Edward Westermann and Alexandra Zapruder. It is designed to allow participants to meet in small groups following each lecture, address the specific aspect of the Holocaust that is presented, share teaching concepts, and develop approaches to introducing the subject matter to their students.

Teachers selected for the program must be English or social studies teachers at the middle or high school level, have taught at least five years, are at least five years from retirement and currently teach the Holocaust in their classroom.

Participants each come from a region of the country where the JFR operates Holocaust Centers of Excellence in conjunction with a local Holocaust museum or center. International educators were first invited to join the seminar in 2001 at the request of the U.S. State Department.

“There are three main goals of our program, which include: providing teachers with graduate level courses on the Holocaust; pedagogical connections with other teachers and their curriculum so they learn what’s worked and what hasn’t; and to give them resources for the classroom,” said JFR Executive Vice President Stanlee Stahl.

The 2017 Lerner Fellows are:

• Julia Thompson of the Holocaust Center for Humanity, in Seattle, WA

• Megan Corbin of the Showalter Middle School, in Tukwila, WA

• Bogdan Paraschivoiu of Omni, in Boca Raton, FL

• Carol Manley of the Holocaust Museum Houston, in Houston, TX

• Danielle Bagonis of the Morrell Park Elementary Middle School in Baltimore, MD

• Jessical Badio of Berry Middle School in Birmingham, AL

• Kate Sullivan of the Forrestdale School, in Rumson, NJ

• Caroline DeWyngaert of the Forrestdale School, in Rumson, NJ

• Patricia Skelton of the Opelika Middle School, in Opelika. AL

• Rachel Povlacs of Carroll High School, in Ozark, AL

• Michelle Myers of Sterling High School, in Somerdale, NJ

• Thomas DeCou of Millville Senior High School, in Millville, NJ

• Carolina Simon of Loggers Run Middle School, in Boca Raton, FL

• Heather Lutz of Pascack Hills High School, in Montvale, NJ

• Lisa Marini of McKeel Academy of Technology, in Lakeland, FL

• Leigh Eubanks of Brown Barge Middle School, in Pensacola, FL

• Shana Stein of Montclair High School, in Montclair, NJ

• Ginni Stickney of Northeast Middle School, in Kansas City, MO

• Andria Hejl of Coastal Montessori Charter School, in Pawleys Island, SC

• David Tonnis of St. Ursula Academy, in Cincinnati, OH

• Jodi Elowitz of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, in Cincinnati, OH

• Tamara Hachulska of the Zespol Szkol Ponadgimnazjalnych, in Kielcach, Poland

• Ewelina Walag of the Zespol Szkol Ponadgimnajalnych, in Kielce, Poland

• Tihana Magas of the Gimnazija Vladimira Nazora, in Zadar, Croatia

• Gordija Marijan of the Hrvatski kralj Zvonimir High School, in Krk, Croatia

The Fellowship program is named in memory of Alfred Lerner, the founding chairman and chief executive officer of MBNA Corporation, who died in October of 2002. Lerner was a long-time advisor and supporter of JFR programs and activities. His deep commitment to the work of JFR and in particular to his special interest in the field of Holocaust education, led to the seminar being endowed in his name.

In conjunction with the Fellowship program, the JFR awarded the 2017 Eduard Sonder Scholarship to Lisa Marini of the Florida Holocaust Museum. Eduard Sonder, a Jewish German wine business owner, was killed during the Holocaust. Upon receiving payment from their grandfather’s life insurance policy, rather than keeping the funds, Kate Tarnofsky and Johanna Stark, sisters from West Orange, NJ, determined that it was best to continue Holocaust education teacher training by endowing a scholarship enabling a teacher to attend the JFR program at Columbia University.

“Lisa is one of our exceptional educators who has proven her outstanding commitment to teaching the Holocaust throughout her career,” said JFR President Roman Kent. “By participating in the Summer Institute, we are confident that she and all of our Lerner Fellows will be able to enhance their classroom experience so that the next generation will be more responsive and moved by the lessons of this period in world history.”

As it moves forward, the JFR continues its work of providing monthly financial assistance to some 400 aged and needy Righteous Gentiles, living in 20 countries. Since its founding, the JFR has provided more than $38 million to aged and needy rescuers—helping to repay a debt of gratitude on behalf of the Jewish people to these noble men and women. Its Holocaust teacher education program has become a standard for teaching the history of the Holocaust and educating teachers and students about the significance of the Righteous as moral and ethical exemplars.