TOLI’s Calendar of Virtual Events for 2020


In an effort to stay connected during this uncertain and difficult time, TOLI has scheduled a calendar of virtual events for all of the educators who have attended TOLI seminars, either in New York City or across the country. 

In April, TOLI opened its virtual learning community by commemorating Yom HaShoah with an event featuring a talk with Auschwitz survivor Irving Roth, who spoke about the need to enlarge our definition of care when faced with the worldwide catastrophe of the pandemic. 

At the same time, we launched TOLI Writes, a private online space for writing, reflecting, and sharing about our lives in quarantine. New prompts have been added every few weeks, and this online space will be continuing throughout the year as a way to connect and sustain members of TOLI’s teacher network. 

As part of this project, we are also launching TOLI Reads. In this new section on the TOLI Writes website, all teachers in our network will have the opportunity to read and discuss books selected by TOLI staff. The first book will be Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Prompts and responses will begin in June, and the discussion will be led by Wendy Warren, TOLI Satellite Seminar Coordinator, and Alice Braziller, a member of the NYC TOLI teaching staff.

In June, TOLI will be launching another new section on TOLI Writes called TOLI Creates. Organized by Donna Tarney, North Carolina Satellite Leader, and Corey Harbaugh, Michigan Satellite Leader, this section will feature TOLI educators’ artwork, music, digital stories, videos or other kinds of media that have been created during the pandemic. Space will also be available for an artist’s statement about the process of creating the work.

As the summer continues, TOLI will be home to a screening of the film Defiant Requiem starting on July 10. Then on Tuesday, July 14 at 7PM, TOLI will host a virtual  conversation with Murry Sidlin, President of The Defiant Requiem Foundation and the creative force behind the film. Teachers who have viewed the film ahead of time will be invited to send in questions for Mr. Sidlin. Following Mr. Sidlin, Alexandra Zapruder, author of Salvaged Pages, will discuss classroom applications of the film. 

On Sunday, Sept. 15 at 3PM, TOLI will host a lecture on antisemitism with Dr. Ellen Kennedy, Director of World Without Genocide. The lecture will be open to TOLI educators in the US and the EU.          

In November, TOLI will be screening a short documentary presented by PBS’s Retro Report, followed by a discussion on classroom applications. The event will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 7PM. Satellite leaders Sandy Pope (MD) and Pam Bodnar (CA) will be selecting the focus which may include recent research on ‘bystanderism.’

TOLI will finish the calendar year with a screening of the film Who Will Write our History, followed by a discussion in small breakout rooms led by some of TOLI’s satellite leaders. This event will take place on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 3PM, and will include both TOLI’s US and EU teachers.

In addition to these efforts to continue connecting with our existing network, TOLI is making a strong effort to build bonds between the organization and everyone who applied to our 2020 summer programs. 

Our satellite seminars across the country are planning for a variety of virtual gatherings. The California seminar will hold 11 carefully designed synchronous sessions through June and July 2020, offered as a full seminar. These sessions will include guest speakers and discussions. Throughout the summer and fall, our Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Virginia seminars will host online book studies as a way to engage their incoming participants in order to keep them connected to and involved with TOLI. They will conduct their programs through various platforms that allow for writing, responding, and reflection, with follow up sessions on classroom practice. In addition to the programs that will be offered TOLI-wide across the year (and, for Virginia, in addition to the book study) our Oklahoma and Virginia satellites opted to provide a year of programs for incoming participants, with Oklahoma focusing on Holocaust and social justice content and Virginia on curriculum study of best practices, looking at Holocaust content and racial inequality in the state. TOLI’s Oregon, North Carolina, New Mexico, Michigan, and Montana sites have chosen to keep their robust networks of TOLI alumni engaged by offering (in addition to the TOLI-wide programs available to all) advanced programming that will address the specific needs of teachers in their states through advanced inquiry webinars. Finally, our Wisconsin satellite is hoping to meet as planned in August, pending what the state will allow.

Everyone who was invited to attend the New York summer seminar this June have begun online introductions through a forum on our website, and they will also be meeting once a month with TOLI’s directors, Sondra Perl and Jennifer Lemberg, to participate in curriculum-building sessions. These sessions are a way for the teachers to learn from one another and build a shared understanding of effective pedagogy long before they gather together at Olga’s table in June of 2021.

Finally, other events will be added as the year continues and TOLI begins to have a larger virtual presence in the world.


For more information about The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), please contact

TOLI is located at 58 East 79th Street in Manhattan. (get directions)