• International Holocaust Remembrance Day

    International Holocaust Remembrance Day

    Sunday, January 26, 2019 | 1:00 PM

    At the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County

    In observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, HMTC will host a screening of “Jan Karski and the Lords of Humanity,” with commentary by the film’s award-winner director, Slavomir Grunberg.

    Jan Karski, risked his life to try to prevent the Holocaust. Using a groundbreaking technique that combines unique archival footage with animated sequences, Emmy-winning filmmaker Slawomir Grünberg, re-creates the death-defying mission of Jan Karski, the Polish underground courier who travelled across occupied Europe, infiltrating the Warsaw Ghetto and a Nazi transit camp to deliver eyewitness accounts of the unfolding Holocaust to the Allied powers. Karski carried his reports to Britain and the United States, hoping that it would shake the conscience of the world leaders or – as he would call them – the Lords of Humanity.

    $10 suggested donation.  Light refreshments will be served.  Please RSVP to (516)571-8040 or info@hmtcli.org.

  • Press Release: “The Holocaust: History and Lessons

    The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County Hosts “The Holocaust: History and Lessons”

    Thursday, October 10, Thursday, October 24, and Wednesday, October 30

    10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

    Glen Cove, NY… The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center (HMTC) hosts “The Holocaust: History and Lessons” a three session interactive seminar focusing on history, roles, choices, and behaviors on Thursday, October 10, Thursday, October 24, and Wednesday, October 30 from 10 am through 3 pm at HMTC, Welwyn Preserve, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, NY 11542.

    This adult seminar is an introductory course in the history of the Holocaust from its beginnings in antisemitism through the Final Solution.  Participants will investigate the roles, choices, and behaviors observed during the Holocaust and how we can apply them to contemporary issues.  The seminar will be facilitated by Gail Kastenolz and Meryl Menashe, two Second Generation Holocaust Survivors, speakers, long-time museum educators, and leaders in Holocaust education.

    Over the course of the three sessions, participants will participate in a docent-led tour of HMTC’s state-of-the-art museum and hear testimony from a Holocaust Survivor.  Additionally, participants will sit-in on a panel in which Second Generation Holocaust Survivors will discuss their experiences as children of Holocaust Survivors and how it has affected their lives from the professions they have chosen to the way they work to prevent hate every day.

    There is a $100 fee per participant; light breakfast, lunch, and materials included.  To register please call (516)571-8040 or email info@hmtcli.org.  To learn more about this program please visit www.hmtcli.org/events.

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  • You’re Invited to The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County’s Tolerance Benefit: “Taste of Long Island” and Silent Auction Monday, May 6, 2019, at 6:00 p.m.

    Glen Cove, NY…  Experience a taste of Long Island’s best restaurants at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County’s (HMTC) annual Tolerance Benefit: “Taste of Long Island.”  This year’s benefit features a tasting event and silent auction on Monday, May 6, 2019, at 6 p.m. at Westbury Manor, 1100 Jericho Turnpike, Westbury, NY.  In addition, three middle and high-school students will be presented with the Friedlander Upstander Award.

    Bidding at the Silent Auction

    The Tolerance Benefit is a way for donors, volunteers, Holocaust Survivors and members of the community to join together to raise money in support of HMTC’s Holocaust, anti-bias and anti-bullying education programs. Those donations make it possible to provide transportation for school groups to visit HMTC’s world-class museum and to hear first-hand testimony from a Holocaust Survivor and for nurses and law enforcement officers to participate in free training workshops.

    The Friedlander Upstander Award, presented by HMTC and the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, in conjunction with the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, is awarded to Nassau and Suffolk County middle school and high school students who have acted as Upstanders against bullying or intolerance in any of its forms. Recipients receive a $2,500 scholarship.

    The Tolerance Benefit is sponsored by Samar Hospitality, the Ike, Molly & Steven Elias Foundation, Stewart Title Associates, The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, and Mojo-Stumer Associates. Other Sponsorship opportunities are available. Tickets are $135 a person and a ten-pack of tickets is available for $1,200. To make a donation or purchase tickets or a sponsorship online visit http://weblink.donorperfect.com/tolerance2019.

    For more information about sponsorship packages and to purchase tickets, contact Deborah Lom at (516) 571-8040 or dlom@hmtcli.org.

  • Friedlander Upstander Award Winner: Sage Gladstone

    Sage Gladstone (3rd from right), a student at South Woods Middle School was a winner of the 2018 Friedlander Upstander Award at at HMTC’s 2018 Tolerance Benefit. Her essay below demonstrates that she has acted as an Upstander against bullying and intolerance.

    Taking action, helping others, and making a difference.  Those are my values and my purpose in life.  I love constantly pushing for a better world, not just speaking about it.  I take initiative and make my ideas come to life.  My sense of responsibility to the world outside of mine is what drives me to help people.  I want to live in a world that is caring, promotes peace, and celebrates differences.  However, I know that can’t happen overnight, and maybe can’t ever happen, but I wake up every day to work towards my goal, rise above obstacles, and be an Upstander for all.

    I have been striving to fulfill that goal of mine since I was five years old.  When I was in kindergarten, I saw that there was a girl a few grades above me who didn’t have any hair.  I felt sad, confused, and worried that she may get made fun of or laughed at, so I wanted to help.  I wanted to show her that someone cared and was thinking about her, so I went home that day to ask my mom if I could cut my hair and just give it to her,  My mom said I couldn’t’ do exactly that but I could donate my hair to people just like her.  Even in my five-year-old mind, I was totally on board with the idea that I could make someone’s day or life better from just one small act.  A few months later, I cut my hair to the point where it looked like I should be dancing the Charleston with my flapper friends, and donated it to Locks of Love.  I did that two more times when I was in fourth grade and this past summer, between seventh and eighth grade.  I realized I was slowly making a change… a change that I wanted to see in our world.

    It has always been a priority of mine to acknowledge others and their feelings because it’s important to appreciate the work that everyone does.  I try to spread my appreciation to people who make our world go around but are sometimes forgotten like the bus drivers, security guards, custodians, and lunch servers.   I also think it is important to stand up to unkind behavior wherever I am.  I will not tolerate rude remarks, bullying, or peer pressure.  Even if doing the right thing is the unpopular choice to make in a situation, I will do it for the sake of the people being hurt.

    Last year, I began many new initiatives at my school to help work towards the change I want to see.  For example, I organized a welcoming committee that invited all of our new students to come and play games and talk about their experiences in our school so far.  I wanted to make sure all the students felt noticed and welcomed.

    When I was home sick with the flu last year, I watched a video online about an amazing non-profit organization called Days for Girls.  This organization assembles sustainable feminine hygiene kits to donate to girls in impoverished areas around the world such as Nepal, parts of India, Haiti and so many other places.  Without the proper materials, these girls end up missing up to five days a week each month with most girls ending up having a deprived education.  Without an education it’s hard for these girls to achieve their goals and pursue their dreams.  These kits aren’t only giving them the items every girl needs, it’s giving them a future… a life to look forward to.  These girls are punished for something that is so natural in every girl’s life and are sent to huts to deal with it by themselves.  While they are in these huts, most commonly refereed to as chhaupadis, their biggest fear isn’t trying to make sure they are staying clean and healthy, it’s worrying about being raped.  These huts are in the middle of nowhere with hardly any protection from any of those vicious men.  After I watched the video, I went to their website to find the Days for Girls’ phone number so I could contact them and see what I could do to help.  When I called, they listed a bunch of volunteer opportunities for me to be apart of.  I thought hosting a drive to collect the materials needed for these kits was the best option.  Once I recovered from the flu and was back at school, I attended a meeting with my feminist club and shared what I had learned about the organization, and pitched the idea of holding a drive.  My club advisers and peers loved the idea but we couldn’t start it just yet because it was too late in the year.  So, we saved my idea for this year.  Over the summer I kept in contact with Days for Girls, collecting all the information I needed to launch a successful drive.  In the fall, I went back to school and planned logistics for this drive to work in meetings with my principal and many conversations with Days for Girls representatives.  Soon, I was ready to put boxes out and have donations roll in.  I really wanted this to be a successful drive so I contacted a representative named Kathy from a local team and asked her to come and speak at my school on behalf of Days for Girls.  We set up a date, and asked students to come listen and learn about Days for Girls at their lunch periods; we had a rather well turn our and even a boy showed up.  It was amazing to have my peers have the opportunity to be educated on an organization that its so important and amazing but yet a forgotten world issue.  After Thanksgiving break we put out donation boxes and I created posters to decorate our school with.  I loved Kathy’s presentation, but I still wanted to teach more about this wonderful organization, so I created a presentation and lectured in health classes about why it is important to donate.  After about a month of running the toiletry drive, my mom and I delivered our four overflowing boxes of donations to Dumont, New Jersey, where Kathy lives.  Throughout this whole experience, I kept in touch with Allie, a representative at the Days for Girls headquarters in Washington State.  After multiple calls and emails, Allie reached out to me and asked if she could feature my story in the Days for Girls monthly newsletter.  Of course I said yes, and Allie congratulated me for being the youngest volunteer to be featured.  My responsibility does not end with one successful drive.  I’m still committed to spreading the message of Days for Girls and will continue to raise awareness at my school.  Next month, I will hold a second drive as well as continue to educate my peers with a global awareness exhibit I’ve organized at my school’s awareness fair.

    The problems needed to be addressed in order to achieve my ideal world does not stop with menstruation.  While we have different religions, talents, hobbies, and beliefs, I know we all have the power to be kind.  I am driven to encourage kindness not only through the halls of my school, but also out in our world.  I am currently in the process of spearheading many kindness movements at my school.  The main project is the Blue Box Campaign where students receive a classmate’s name and are encouraged to write an anonymous compliment about them.  I am also setting it up for teachers.  The main purpose of this movement is to encourage people to make others feel good about themselves and to spread the idea that we can all uplift each other with a simple gesture.  I’m also launching a kindness mural project, where all students are asked to write their definition of kindness.  After everyone’s definition is collected, I will create the mural in a hallway at my school.  The process of each student writing their unique definition of kindness will make them have to consider what being kind actually means to them.  I will also kick off a Token of Kindness Project where Peer Mediators will carry around stickers that have quotes abut kindness on them.  When we see acts of kindness during the school day we will give them out.  This project is designed to let everyone know that all acts of kindness, big or small, never go unnoticed.  To tie all of the kindness projects together, I will be organizing another kindness moment called Kind Hands of South Woods for students and teachers to paint their hands and leave their hand prints on a piece of paper.  This resembles their pledge to be kind and contribute positivity to our school.  I hope I will be able to cement the value of Kindness into the minds of my peers as I launch these initiatives.

    My sense of responsibility to change our world for the better and promote kindness doesn’t just end with humans, I believe I should show the same respect to animals.  I became a vegetarian in kindergarten because I felt really bad at the thought that I was eating another living thing.  However, sticking with those eating habits got difficult especially at such a young age and I was only a vegetarian sporadically, until this past summer when I watched a few documentaries about the vegan diet.  Last month marked 6 month of being vegan, this experience proved to me that helping other human or not is something that I care strongly about and I am willing to do it and not give up.

    “Be the change you want to see in the world” is a powerful quote that I think best sums up my vision for being an Upstander.  I will always push for a better world and challenge myself on how I can make an even larger impact than the day before.  Through high school, college, adulthood, and when I’m old, I will continue to be an Upstander, someone who will never forget the importance of advocating for others and love for helping them.  I hope to spread this message of helping the people around you and thinking about lives beyond your own to all the beautiful humans on this planet we share.

    Are you an Upstander?

    If you have a story that sounds like Sage’s and you are a Middle or High School student from Nassau or Suffolk Counties, share it with us! You might be one of our 2019 Friedlander Upstander Winners.

    Apply via the link below:

    Friedlander Upstander Awards

    Or mail to:

    Helen Turner | Friedlander Upstander Award, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, NY 11542

    For more information please call: (516) 571-8040 or email helenturner@hmtcli.org.

     

     

  • Adolescent Advocates: Making Change Happen

    The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC), supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations, as part of the Communities Against Hate initiative, is pleased to announce Adolescent Advocates, a new and unique program to train and empower teens to combat the rise of hate crimes on Long Island.

    HMTC is looking for Adolescent Advocates in grades 7-11 who are committed to bringing change to their communities and adult mentors, such as educators or youth group leaders, who are currently working with young adults to learn how to conduct trainings and be ongoing advisors. After going through the Adolescent Advocate training session, students/youth/graduates will have the tools they need to be effective advocates for themselves and their peers. They will then be able to enact tolerance action plans in their communities, with support from their trained partner adult mentors.

    Training sessions for Adolescent Advocates will take place on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at the Boys and Girls Club, 471 Atlantic Avenue, Bellport NY; and on Sunday, October 22, 2017 at HMTC, Welwyn Preserve, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, NY. Mandatory Training for adult mentors will take place Thursday, August 17, 2017, at HMTC.

    Teens and adults interested in participating in Adolescent Advocates must fill out an online application, which can be found on HMTC’s website at hmtcli.org/advocates. Space is limited. Mentor applications are due by June 30, 2017. Student applications will be accepted through September 1, 2017.

    HMTC was prompted to create this program by the rise in racist, anti-immigrant and antisemitic incidents since Election Day, 2016. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that 40% of all incidents occur in educational settings. HMTC is committed to empowering students with the tools they need to not only react to incidents of prejudice but to be proactive in preventing those incidents in their schools and communities.

    Communities Against Hate is a national initiative to collect data and respond to incidents of violence, threats, and property damage motivated by hate across the United States. The initiative leverages a reporting database (www.CommunitiesAgainstHate.org) that aggregates reports from both victims, witnesses and news accounts of hate incidents, as well as offers legal resources and social services to support people in need. Communities Against Hate aims to aggregate data on hate incidents, providing legal and social support, raising awareness, and educating the public on the prevalence of hate.

    The initiative is led by The Leadership Conference Education Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and partner organizations representing diverse communities that reflect the fabric of America, including: Center for Community Change; Color of Change; Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA Network); Hollaback!; Muslim Advocates; National Council of La Raza; National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC); New York City Anti-Violence Project; Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; The Sikh Coalition; National Disability Rights Network; South Asian Americans (SAALT) and the Transgender Law Center. The Southern Poverty Law Center is serving as a strategic advisor to the initiative.

    For more information about how to apply to be a part of the Adolescent Advocates program contact Helen Turner, Adolescent Advocates Program Manager, at (516) 571-8040 or helenturner@hmtcli.org, or visit hmtli.org.

     

  • Defining and Understanding “Tolerance”

     

     

    landing-students-2

    by Tracy Garrison-Feinberg, Director, Claire Friedlander Education Institute at HMTC

    In 1790, our first president established one of many important precedents for our young nation.  Knowing that every move and step he took as president would influence the actions of those who followed him, George Washington was deliberate in his communication with religious communities who wrote in support of the Bill of Rights.  A conversation in letters between Washington and the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island included a passage that provided a foundation for religious liberty, and acceptance in general:

    It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. [George Washington’s Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, August 1790]

    Sarah Vowell referenced this letter in a recent New York Times op-ed. Of course Washington’s words didn’t eliminate bigotry and prejudice at the time, but it was a good first step on a path we continue to walk.

    Teaching Tolerance, a valuable resource for educators and a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, acknowledges the “imperfection” of the word tolerance, and offers a definition from UNESCO to explain their own philosophy:  “Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.  Tolerance is harmony in difference.”

    So what do we mean by “tolerance” here at HMTC?  It’s a question we ask young people at the start of their visit to our center, and the answers we get show the complexity of the concept.  We hear answers like “getting along with others”, “acceptance”, “putting up with people we don’t like”, and “ignoring difference”.  We often respond that for us, tolerance is not the end goal, but it can be a means to better understanding.  I think the UNESCO idea of “harmony in difference” relates well to our own philosophy, and we will encourage our young visitors to continue to expand their definitions of tolerance as well.

    We wish a happy new school year to students and teachers, and if you haven’t yet scheduled an education program for 2016-17, please visit our website to sign up.

  • 2015 Annual Middle School Conference

    2015 Annual Middle School Conference

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015,
    9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

    Theme: Building Leadership Skills Through Advocacy 

    Maria Cruz Lee

    Guest Speaker: Maria Cruz Lee from Define American

    Location: Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County
    Welwyn Preserve, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, NY

    Due to the heavy volume of schools interested in attending the 2015 Middle School conference registration is now closed as we have reached maximum attendance capacity. However, if there are any schools who wanted to attend but didn’t get to register please contact Tracy Garrison-Feinberg at (516) 571-8040 about scheduling a separate program for your school at HMTC.

    For over a decade, HMTC has sponsored a conference for middle school students to encourage them to stand up to intolerance and to create a climate in their school that is welcoming and safe for everyone. The theme for this year’s conference is Building Leadership Skills Through Advocacy.

    The guest speaker will be Maria Cruz Lee, strategic operations director of Define American, a media and culture organization using the power of stories to transcend politics and shift the conversation around immigrants, identity and citizenship in a changing America. Maria is responsible for directing the implementation of Define American’s initiatives and developing new programs. She holds a B.A. in media from CUNY Hunter College and served as Special Assistant to former Commissioner Fatima Shama in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) during the Bloomberg Administration.

    Middle school students from Nassau and Suffolk County are invited to attend the conference, which will take place at HMTC. Maximum attendance is 150 participants, so please register early! We recommend that teachers select 5-10 students involved in leadership programs and we encourage you to bring ideas for school and community action groups.

    There is no fee to attend. For questions and more information please call (516) 571-8040.

     

  • HMTC Receives $2,200 Donation From Queens, NY Synagogues

    LDov VDov Group

     

    Pictured (L to R): Rabbi Eli Schiffrin, Chabad of Little Neck; George Klein, L’Dor V’Dor; Rabbi Gordon Yaffe, L’Dor V’Dor; Ellen Charlop, L’Dor V’Dor; Sandy Lorber, Temple Torah; Judy Vladimir, Director of Development, HMTC and Beth Lilach, Senior Director of Education and Community Affairs, HMTC.

    The Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County recently received a generous donation from Congregation L’Dor V’Dor in Little Neck, NY, along with Temple Torah, also in Little Neck, and Marathon Jewish Center in Douglaston, NY, of over $2,200. The donation signifies a commitment to promote tolerance through the anti-bias and anti-bullying programs offered by HMTC.

    Rabbi Gordon Yaffe of Congregation L’Dor V’Dor organized the Holocaust Memorial Day project in partnership with the other two synagogues, Temple Torah and Marathon Jewish Center. Synagogue members delivered over 600 packages to the community. The packages included a yahrzeit (memorial) candle as well as a picture and biography of a victim of the Holocaust. Recipients were asked to make a donation in support of HMTC’s Holocaust based programming. The over $2,200 donation was collected as a result of this effort.

    The donation was presented to HMTC on Sunday, June 8, at a program for members of the synagogues on genocides presented by Beth Lilach, HMTC’s Senior Director of Education and Community Affairs. Participants also took a tour of the museum led by docents Sheila Rind, Renee Katz and Emily Berkowitz.

  • David and Jacqueline

    You cannot walk through our museum without being stopped by two voices resonating through the galleries from a small screen on the wall. David and Jacqueline. They are each a voicerepresenting what we do here at our Holocaust Center. Together they are the tragic symbol of the wide reach of the evil which permeates our world in the last century. But, at the same time, they are a tribute to the invincibility of the human spirit.

    “She – African, black, Christian, young; I, European, white, Jewish, not-so-young.  Yet we are like sister and brother. No one can understand us better than we understand each other,” David says on screen, before taking Jacqueline’s hand in his, drawing her to him and enfolding her in a fatherly embrace.

    Jacqueline and David’s story is also a segment of our personal biography – David’s and mine – for the past ten years. Jacqueline came into our lives in an ordinary way. A child writing a letter.

    After speaking to a class at VanBuren high school in Queens, David received a manila envelope from a teacher – a package of thank you notes from the students addressed to the speaker and sent to our Holocaust Center. On our way home from a meeting I picked up the letters and while David was driving, read them to him one by one. Among them was a letter that stood out from the stack. It was puzzling. The writer seemed to be a child with the wisdom and introspection of an old woman. In a calm, detached mode it spoke of horrors, drawing philosophical conclusions from personal catastrophes. The writer identified herself as a Rwandan, genocide survivor. She had lost her parents, her loving grandmother, all six of her siblings and her large extended family. She was wondering in what way she could help to prevent other such disasters in the future. She found her identity in the story of a Holocaust survivors and the motto Never Again! Could she too try and help to prevent future genocides? She wanted her life to matter.

    How could one answer this type of a letter?

    We decided to meet her personally and drove up to Queens where she was living with her uncle, who had retrieved her from an orphanage and brought her to the U.S. Waiting for us on top of an outside staircase of a Queens garden apartment stood a long-legged female figure in a black pants-suit. From the seat of our car she appeared to be six feet tall. After we parked our car and approached her we found ourselves looking into a face of a child. Jacqueline Murekatete was sixteen years old.

    She invited us inside, offered us a cup of tea and seating herself on the sofa between us calmly told us her story: A nine year old girl visiting grandma in a neighboring village…  radio blaring propaganda calling the Tutsis  snakes and roaches…. Barricades set up in the street to identify Tutsies. Neighbors, former friends following orders to hack one to death with machetes. Grandmother and child wildly running from hiding place to hiding place: A separation… an orphanage… children missing limbs… crying for their mothers…. Fear, cold, brutal fear!  And then survival. Survival?  The first moment of awareness… alone…  all alone in the world…What now?…Lucky an uncle who had escaped a previous Tutsi genocide eventually found and picked her up. She arrived in Texas. Knowing not a word of English.

    All through her bone-chilling narrative she sat between us poised, stone-faced, and dry-eyed, as if the people in her story were characters in a movie. I wished she would cry. Then at least I could wrap an arm around her, draw her head onto my shoulder and comfort her. But she was stronger than we and put both me and David to shame by handing us tissue for our tears. She ended with: “And no one did anything about it” –  a sentence that resonated in our ears for days and one she was to later repeat on the floor of the United Nations.

    “Take her along on one of your talks David,” I said one morning as we were talking about Jacqueline.

    “What will I do with her?” he responded.

    “Let her carry your briefcase if needed,” I said facetiously, “at least she will feel she is doing something.”

    David and Jacqueline gave their first talk together at Jacqueline’s high school – VanBuren. Neither her teacher nor her class had previously known anything about her other than she was from Africa.

    And so the Rwandan genocide was put on David’s agenda and consequently “on the map” – since there were very few people who had even heard the name of that unfortunate country and the destiny of the Tutsy minority murdered by their neighbors, the Hutus. Jacqueline soon carried her own briefcase. She and David became a team that traveled the route of schools, universities, community centers, churches, synagogues, and other public meeting places all over the US, and at times even oversees. Our shy child, Jacqueline, developed into a fine and confident speaker. The rest is on Google!

    Our personal relationship with Jacqueline defies conventional boundaries.  Newspaper reporters and other media personnel, looking for a newsworthy morsel have frequently tried to goad us into definition: “a daughter? A friend?  A colleague?  A relative?”

    “Yes! Nothing of the kind…  And all of the above…”  I would answer. Out of respect for her uncle, the blood relative who rescued and adopted her legally, we do not call her a daughter, though our special closeness strongly parallels a child/parent relationship. We love, respect, and are deeply concerned about one another. We feel we understand each other the way no one else can. We need very few words to communicate. We share each other’s joys and sorrows. There is between us – with apologies to reason- a type of ESP. David could always claim to sense when she would needed him; Jacqueline and I will shamelessly claim that she and I can identify each other’s telephone call by the tone of its ring. After her marriage, the addition of her husband Jean-Baptiste has further enriched our relationship and has brought us much happiness. We joyfully stood with them at their wedding; they stood with me at David’s death-bed. One day, when a baby comes, I will be outside the delivery room waiting to hold it. Mine and David’s grandchild.

    – Lillian Gewirtzman, Holocaust Survivor and HMTC Volunteer

    View Survivor Soulmates

     

  • My Greatest Achievement

    Being nominated for the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County’s Friedlander Upstander Award was in itself the greatest honor I have ever received. In the beginning I was told that my chances of actually winning were slim because candidates would span all of Nassau County. I was beyond thrilled that I had been chosen by the Wheatley faculty to represent our school. I knew it was a great opportunity to put my story to writing, and even if I didn’t win, I would still be able to let people read my essay and understand how I have been affected by intolerance.

    After reading my essay, my mother’s eyes filled with tears as it had to do with one of the biggest ways tolerance plays a role in my life — my family. My older brother has Autism, and throughout my whole life I have watched as people thought less of him, told him he couldn’t do something, or just treated him differently from everyone else. He is of course different, but he is just as much a person as anyone else; that is what I try relay to people. He has given me such a gift because I am forced to look at the world in another way— I have been on the other side of intolerance.

    The least I can do is spread the knowledge I have obtained from knowing someone as amazing as my brother. It’s definitely not always easy growing up with him. It makes full family vacations near impossible. Even being all in one car together can be a definite struggle, but my whole family is so proud of where he is today. He holds 3 jobs and is a functional member of society; something many people told him he couldn’t be. Because of him, I always feel the need to step in and give the underdog a fighting chance whenever I can. People shouldn’t be treated any differently or with any less respect simply because they are different.

    Winning this award was such a personal accomplishment. It truly is the best kind of award to receive because it was based on who I am as a person. The award ceremony was one of the best nights of my life— listening to so many inspirational people tell their own stories having to do with intolerance. Reading the plaque I was later given nearly brought me to tears. It listed leadership, courage, and the ability to inspire others as three of the qualities of this award. I felt so honored and met so many amazing people. It is definitely a night I will never forget.

    This fall as part of the award I will also be a part of the HMTC’s Annual Middle School Tolerance Conferences, which I know will be another incredible experience. I am beyond excited to be able to work with these students and pass along lessons I have learned. I would like to thank the HMTC and Claire Friedlander Family Foundation for giving me and opportunity to be a part of such an amazing program.

    – Caitlin Calio
    2013 Friedlander Upstander Award Recipient