• Julia Yablans & Zachary Shallat are Upstanders of the Month May 2015

    On April 19, we had the wonderful opportunity to spend an afternoon honoring student artists who participated in our annual Creative Arts Competition. Meeting these young artists and listening to their descriptions of their award winning works reminded us all of the transformative nature of the arts. Two of the students especially stood out, and we are thrilled to honor them further as our Upstanders of the Month for April and May. Together they represent all of our student artists this year who understand the power of art to heal, to educate, and to inspire.

    Julia Yablans is a fifth grader at Schechter School of Long Island, and has been thinking about her submission to the 2015 Arts competition for some time. When Tracy Garrison-Feinberg, the director of the Claire Friedlander Education Institute at HMTC, visited Schechter in the fall to meet with fourth and fifth grade classes, Julia had amazing questions about the history of the Holocaust, and expressed her interest in the arts competition. She and her father visited the museum to view Objects of Witness, a special exhibit featuring numerous artifacts from our archives. Julia took that experience as inspiration, and interviewed Holocaust survivor Michael Bornstein, a family friend who had his own object of witness, a Kiddush Cup that his family had buried before being forced from their home. They were able to retrieve the cup after the war. Julia captured Mr. Bornstein’s testimony in a video project that won second place in the “Video/Film” category of this year’s competition. For helping to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, and for her award-winning smile, Julia is our Upstander of the Month for April 2015.

    Zachary Shallat, also a fifth grader at Schechter School , won first place in the “Sculpture/Multi-media” category for his work “Miracle of Light.” Zachary was inspired by the light bulb featured in our Objects of Witness special exhibit, a lightbulb that was the only intact artifact to survive the destruction of the synagogue in Drama, Greece, during World War II. His piece, pictured here, captured the fragility of the lightbulb and the hope and the light epitomized by survivors. Zachary further impressed us when he donated his cash award back to the Holocaust Center, bringing his mother, grandmother, and Friedlander Education Institute director Tracy Garrison-Feinberg to tears. His artistic talent and his generous spirit make him our Upstander of the Month for May 2015.

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