The Memorial Library’s Satellite Seminar Network Expands Its National Reach
Last summer, the Memorial Library expanded its national reach by adding three new Satellite Seminar locations to its network: Massachusetts, Maryland, and Long Island, New York. The Library sponsored a total of 11 Satellite Seminars, including 8 established programs, led by teacher-leaders – all alumni of past New York City Summer Seminars – in communities around the country.
The Satellite Seminars further the Library’s goal of making resources for teaching about the Holocaust and other genocides available to as many teachers in as many places as possible throughout the United States. Local programs also enable teachers to address specific issues head-on while encouraging students to effect change within their schools and communities.
When teacher-leaders Cara Crandall and Paula Mercier launched the New England Satellite Seminar, they modeled the curriculum on their New York City seminar experience because “they found it so powerful.” But the New England Satellite, held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in partnership with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, also incorporated specifically local components. Participants met with area authors, including survivor Dr. Anna Orenstein and Hanna Perlstein Marcus, who provided a second-generation perspective.
Cara, who teaches 7th grade English and Language Arts and is a doctoral candidate at the UMass Amherst program in Language, Literacy, and Culture, says that the most meaningful outcome of the seminar was the impact of the curriculum and the fact that “the participants really came together as a community and learned with and from one another.” Those connections continue to be a source of support for participants, who attended a follow-up session at the recent conference of the New England Association of Teachers of English.
As they planned the inaugural Maryland Holocaust Educators Network seminar, teacher-leaders Dr. Diana Wagner and Dr. Sandy Pope decided to create an eclectic, interdisciplinary schedule that wove together a wide array of topics. These ranged from Jewish history and culture, to the music of the Holocaust, to general challenges in teaching about genocide and social justice issues. Hosted by Salisbury (MD) University, program partners included the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the ADL, the Wicomico County Board of Education, and Salisbury’s Temple Beth Israel.
As a core component of the curriculum, participating teachers developed and completed a unit plan during the seminar, which they shared with their peers.
The seminar opened with a visit to Temple Beth Israel, where the rabbi provided background on the basics principles of Judaism, its history, and its rich culture. Participants viewed film selections, such as Night and Fog, and met survivor Anna Gross during a visit to the USHMM. They also watched Ghosts of Rwanda before a meeting with Laura Lane, a former official at the US Embassy in Rwanda, who gave a unique and moving perspective on rescue during that more recent genocide. The seminar concluded with a traditional Shabbat dinner with the community at Temple Beth Israel.
Tracy Garrison-Feinberg, Meryl Menashe, and Michelle Sorise organized and led the first-ever Long Island Satellite Seminar at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove, New York. Sessions took place in the Claire Friedlander Education Institute, a venue which gave participants room to spread out as well as access to the center’s permanent museum. The group also enjoyed the hospitality of nearby Temple Judea, where teachers met with survivor and renowned writer and scholar Irving Roth.
The seminar curriculum incorporated a variety of experiences and methodologies through which teachers explored the powerful themes of memory and legacy and stretched their thinking about Holocaust education. The curriculum incorporated a screening of Memory after Belsen and a discussion with filmmaker Joshua Greene. Participants also met with Holocaust survivor Fanny Lust and her daughter, Janet Lust Gaines, an art educator, and later, with survivor Riva Minsky Sender. Guest facilitators presented the One Clip at a Time curriculum, which greatly enhanced the seminar and helped Tracy, Meryl, and Michele tie together the themes of the week.
“We created a cohesive community of learners that reflected diversity of experience and geography,” said the teacher-leaders.
It was precisely what the Memorial Library had in mind.