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Resources to Combat Antisemitism

"Once I thought that antisemitism had ended; today it is clear to me that it will probably never end." - Elie Wisel

My heart is heavy and my prayers are with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh as they go through this incredibly difficult time. Antisemitism is not a thing of the past, as we witnessed on Saturday. It's real and it's dangerous. Education is an important tool to combat antisemitism so today I'm going to give you some resources to do just that. 

Echoes and Reflections equips educators to confidently teach about the Holocaust and contemporary antisemitism. While this is an excellent source for teachers, I think anybody can benefit from this amazing resource. They have video toolboxes with testimonies from Holocaust survivors and they offer detailed lesson plans. I recently attended one of their in-person seminars which they present throughout the country, so check out the dates to see if a seminar is coming near you. My favorite resource they offer are free webinars. They cover a variety of Holocaust related topics, contemporary antisemitism, and connect history to the refugee crisis today. 

The International School for Holocaust Studies is part of Vad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. I had the opportunity to study there over the summer. In our classes we covered multiple aspects of the Holocaust, antisemitism, and problems facing Israel today. They host seminars in Jerusalem for educators, students, and Christian leaders every year.

They also offer online courses, two of which are free. Yad Vashem is the ultimate source for Holocaust related information. You'll definitely want to look into all they have to offer. 

Chronicles of Terror is a project created by the Witold Pilecki Center for Totalitarian Studies in Warsaw. I was able to visit the institute while studying in Poland this summer. They share first hand accounts from citizens, victims, and witnesses of the Holocaust. You can see the original documents on their website along with the English translations. (They are still in the process of translating all the testimonies into English). You can narrow your search by year, location, subject, and crimes. I see this site as being especially helpful to writers striving to teach the lessons of the Holocaust through real life stories.

USHMM + Local Holocaust Resource Center

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has loads of information regarding the history of the Holocaust, contemporary antisemitism, and genocide on their website. If you have the chance to visit, it's a very powerful and heartbreaking museum.

Also, try to connect with a local Holocaust Resource Center. They may be able to connect you to survivors and Holocaust educational events. My local center has a speakers bureau which gives the community the opportunity to hear from Holocaust survivors in their schools, museums, churches, etc. Check out what's available around you and bring that education to your community.
Photo by Phil Zimmer
Holocaust survivor Grigory Shershnevsky
 at Eldred WWII Musem's Holocaust Education Day
These are a few of the resources I've found helpful as I strive to educate through my writing. If you have any resources to share, please do.


Israel Pt. 2: Exploring Jerusalem

Previous blog posts about Israel: Yad Vashem Seminar and Part 1: Dead Sea, Masada, and Yad Vashem

After lectures one day, our group took a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem! When we got the gates we just had to grab a picture with the Israeli flag. Woo-hoo! 
The Western Wall ....   

We had a guided tour in the Western Wall tunnels ... the coolest!   

You know, just walking on 2,000+ year old streets ...   

The Western Wall and the Old City at night ...    

A few days later, some of us decided to catch a train and explore Jerusalem some more!  

We came back with some neat keepsakes.   

The day before my flight home we spent the day touring the City of David ...   

These are the ancient ruins of a typical Israelite dwelling.   

Olive trees everywhere!  

Inside an excavation tunnel under the City of David ...   

Can't get over these old streets!  

On Friday night we went to an Orthodox Synagogue service which was really interesting. After experiencing a Shabbat dinner, we were given our certificates for completing 50 hours of Holocaust Studies. Here I am with some of the instructors/guides. 

Until next time!   



Israel Pt 1: Dead Sea, Masada, and Yad Vashem

This summer I had the opportunity to visit Israel for a ten day seminar at Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center. I wrote a general blog post about my experiences studying the Holocaust HERE, but now it's time to share all the pictures! 

After a 10 1/2 hour flight, Tel Aviv was a sight for sore eyes!

After the taxi ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, (during which I experienced nerve racking driving!) I made some much needed coffee and took a nap before dinner.  

The next day our group headed to Masada, Qumran Caves, and the Dead Sea. As we crossed into the West Bank, we saw lots of Palestinian cars recognizable by their white license plates while Israeli cars have yellow. Our guide told us this is one of the only places without conflict where Israelis and Palestinians share the road. 

Waiting for the cable car to take us up to Masada ....  

Standing in the ruins of the ancient fortress of Masada which was built around 30 B.C. by Herod the Great  ... 

Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered  ...  

Stepping into the Dead Sea was a crazy feeling. It makes your skin feel so smooth and leaves a mineral residue everywhere

I met people from Uganda, Tanzania, Serbia, Bosnia, Norway, Nepal, and Argentina. Our group was very international which was so cool! 

First day of the seminar at Yad Vashem ... 

Everything about the Holocaust museum, including the architecture, is so intentional. The museum recreates the Warsaw Ghetto with cobblestone streets, lamp posts, and benches from early 20th century Poland. Along with original letters from the hidden archives of the Warsaw Ghetto, they also have one of the metal boxes which contained a portion of the archive.  

 A Righteous Among Nations tree planted for Oskar Schindler ...  

We had a tour around Yad Vashem to see different memorials. Not far from the museum is the Warsaw Ghetto Square—Wall of Remembrance.

"The Wall of Remembrance consists of two sculptures set in a wall of red bricks, which symbolize the ghetto walls. In the center of the first sculpture, entitled 'The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising', stands the leader of the uprising, Mordechai Anielewicz. The second sculpture, entitled 'The Last March', depicts the mass deportation of the Jews to the death camps."

IDF soldiers who were also there for seminars/tours ...  

To be continued!