• Anjelica Mantikas and Ariel Stern are Upstanders of the Month for March

    Anjelica and Ariel 2015

    Anjelica Mantikas and Ariel Stern are Upstanders of the Month for March! It’s Women’s History Month – a great time to celebrate the achievements of stellar young women! HMTC recently had the opportunity to catch up with some of our past Upstanders, Anjelica Mantikas and Ariel Stern, founders of One is Greater than None. All eight original members of One is Greater than None are featured in HMTC’s permanent museum exhibition, in a section which highlights individuals and groups who have worked to make a positive difference in the world. Anjelica and Ariel shared how they are continuing to work for a better world:

    “It has been eight years since we co-founded One is Greater than None (1>0). We are all college graduates now and either working or in graduate school. Our mission still is to inspire individuals to realize that they can make a difference despite limited resources. We do this by taking on projects that will get our community involved and speaking to groups about our story. Our most recent projects include sponsoring the building of a library at a school in Ghana, as well as sponsoring the creation of computer labs at that same school. Currently, we are partnering with companies and a non-profit, EVCO Africa, in order to bring gently used computers from office desks on Long Island to student’s desks in West Africa.

    With each project that we work on, it is clear that so many people want to do something to make the world a better place, they just do not realized how simple it can be. As we move forward with out work, we hope to continue speaking with people and showing them that each of us has the power to make a positive impact in our communities.”

    For more information about One is Greater than None visit www.oneisgreaterthannone.org.

  • February Upstanders of the Month

    Unity Club

    This month we are celebrating the Unity Club at East Northport Middle School as HMTC’s February Upstanders of the Month! Teachers Sandy Leahy and Chris Rozmus brought 15 students to our fall student leadership conference and the students left energized and eager to bring what they learned back to their school and peers. They began brainstorming issues and projects to help make East Northport a more welcoming community.

    The Unity Club is participating in this year’s “PS I Love You Day,” begun by a Claire Friedlander Upstander scholar in West Islip. Students from the Unity Club will distribute small cards to the ENMS community as a reminder that someone cares, to hold on to or to share with another student. The Unity Club will also decorate the school with reminders everywhere: purple strings on each lock, small baskets with comforting and inspirational words in inconspicuous places and inspirational music played between classes. Ms. Leahy says, “We want this uplifting feeling of PS I Love You Day to continue beyond one single day in February.”

    The members of the Unity Club are also working on a giant photo mosaic of everyone in the school, in the shape of an American flag, inspired by Maria Cruz Lee of Define American, who spoke at the October student conference at HMTC. In addition, they are developing public service announcements to run on their school TV station, TIGER TV, focusing on labels. We look foward to seeing the finished PSAs!

    The goal of the Fall student conference is to help students recognize their ability to make a difference. The Unity Club at East Northport is a wonderful example of this idea in action, and we’re thrilled to celebrate them as our February Upstanders!

  • Tell HMTC About Young People Who Are Making a Difference!

    Tell HMTC About Young People Who Are Making a Difference!


    by Tracy Garrison- Feinberg

    This week we’ve been receiving applications for the 2016 Claire Friedlander Upstander Award, and it’s wonderful to see young people from all over Long Island working to make their communities better in so many different ways. That’s why we take the time to honor a few of these students each year with a $2,500 scholarship, why we try to feature at least one student each month in this blog as Upstander of the Month, and why I’m  thrilled that Newsday is giving us examples on a regular basis of “Students to Watch.”

    Too often we read about negative images of teenagers in our world today: they’re apathetic, they’re only concerned with themselves and their technology, they have no concept of history. The students I see in our education programs prove these stereotypes false every single day. I see young people who are connected, passionate and compassionate, and their stories inspire me daily.

    At HMTC, we teach young people that standing up for others is the best way to stand up against bigotry, hatred or intolerance of any kind. We promote the idea of the “Upstander,” which two New Jersey students felt was so important that they started a campaign to add the word “upstander” to the Oxford English Dictionary. And I know that students across Long Island, in every community, have similar stories of standing up. We want to hear them and share their examples!

    Please be in touch with us about inspiring young people, and watch this space! You’ll see their stories in this blog and later this spring we’ll announce the 2016 Friedlander Upstander Scholars. I look forward to celebrating more Long Island inspiring students!

    Tracy Garrison-Feinberg is director of the Claire Friedlander Education Institute at HMTC. You can contact Tracy at tracygarrisonfeinberg@hmtcli.org. 

  • December Upstander of the Month

    Maddie 2

    HMTC’s December Upstander of the Month is Maddie Greenberg, an 8th grader at JHR 194 William Carr in Queens, NY. Maddie first contacted us over the summer for help with her Bat Mitzvah project. She has a deep interest in the history of World War II and the Holocaust, and she wanted to connect that interest with something that would help HMTC. She did research over the summer in our library, met with staff and volunteers, and developed a review of Holocaust literature that we can now share with teachers and students. In November, Maddie presented her research to our volunteer educators to rave reviews. She continues to look for ways to help HMTC, and just joined us at our Barnes & Noble Bookfair where she helped with giftwrapping.

    Maddie is a treasure and we look forward to working with her on future projects. Congratulations Maddie!

  • November Upstander of the Month

    Jason Beck

    Jason Beck, a senior at Syosset High School, is HMTC’s November Upstander of the Month. Jason has been interning at HMTC for the past six months. His work here involves researching political extremism in the United States and European Union. He has also studied the relationship between economic factors and the presence of xenophobia. Additionally, Jason writes for a blog which details acts of antisemitism and Islamophobia  in Europe. His passion for the issue has brought him to the attention of Nassau and Suffolk County legislators and he has spoken at general legislative sessions in both counties.

    We are proud to honor Jason as our November Upstander of the Month!

  • Ari Babaknia, Paul J. Bloom and Thomas C. Krumpter are HMTC’s September Upstanders of the Month

    Trib 2015 Honorees

    (L to R:) Steven Markowitz, Chairman of HMTC; Thomas C. Krumpter, Acting Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department and Tribute Dinner Honoree; Paul J. Bloom, Esq., founding partner of Harras, Bloom & Archer, LLP and Honoree; Dr. Ari Babaknia, Author and Honoree; Mitra Damaghi, Tribute Dinner Co-Chair; and Peter J. Klein, CFA, Tribute Dinner Co-Chair. 

    HMTC is honored to have three incredible Upstanders for the month of September. At the 23rd annual Tribute Dinner, which took place September 10th at the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation, we had the privilege of honoring Ari Babaknia, M.D., Paul J. Bloom, Esq. and Thomas C. Krumpter.

    Ari Babaknia, M.D., received the Bruce Morrell Education and Humanity Award, is a Johns Hopkins trained physician specializing in reproductive medicine for over 30 years. He was recently appointed Professor of Health Science at Chapman University in California. Dr. Babaknia is the author of a four volume book, in Farsi, that chronicles the Holocaust. The book was awarded the Reference Book of the Year Award (2013) from the Association of Jewish Libraries. His latest book, Humanity, Not, which is available for purchase in HMTC’s bookstore, depicts the emotions experienced during the Holocaust by both victims and perpetrators.

    Paul J. Bloom, Esq., received a Community Leader Award. Mr. Bloom is a founding partner of Harras Bloom & Archer, LLP. With over forty years of experience, Mr. Bloom has represented developers, investors, as well as national and local entities relating to properties and developments on Long Island. During his career, Mr. Bloom has held many elected and appointed positions in municipal government. He has also served on the boards of numerous charitable and religious organizations.

    Thomas C. Krumpter, received a Public Service Award. Named Acting Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department in February of 2014, Commissioner Krumpter has been a member of the department for 22 years. He is a strong proponent of HMTC sponsor training programs and through his efforts had expanded the number of officers attending Law Enforcement and Society workshops at HMTC.

  • Remembering an Upstander and Looking for Others

    JulianBond and SNCC

    By Tracy Garrison-Feinberg, Director of the Claire Friedlander Education Institute at HMTC

    The world lost a giant on August 15, 2015 with the passing of Julian Bond, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Georgia state legislator, former chairman of the NAACP, and tireless champion of human rights. He is best known for his civil rights activism, but he also was a strong and vocal supporter of marriage equality and protecting the environment. If you have seen any of the episodes of Eyes on the Prize, you have heard his voice narrating each episode. He was literally the voice of the movement for generations learning the long history of the Civil Rights Movement. It was a distinctive voice, and it will be sorely missed.

    I had the amazing opportunity to hear Mr. Bond in person in 2010 at the SNCC 50th anniversary conference in Raleigh, NC, and to speak with him personally. After hearing his powerful keynote on the founding of SNCC, I was walking through the lobby of the conference center and there he was, standing alone. I went up to him, introduced myself briefly and thanked him for his speech, which moved us all. He thanked me, then with a twinkle in his eye, asked me, “yes, but did I look good?” We both laughed and I assured him that he did, indeed, resplendent in his striped tan jacket and sky blue shirt. Meeting him and so many other veterans of SNCC and the larger movement was an experience I won’t ever forget. Seeing how human they were reminded me that they weren’t superheroes. They were people who put their bodies on the line in order to hold our nation true to its founding principles, who believed that real change requires commitment, and sometimes risk. And their example, especially Mr. Bond’s, continues to inspire.

    There are and will continue to be many tributes to Julian Bond, and already his own words are part of the memorialization of this giant, this gentleman, this Upstander. As HMTC celebrates and honors young people who work to make their world a better place, like this young woman, a high school student from Glen Cove, Mr. Bond’s thoughts on leadership and activism should inspire more young people to follow his example:

    Leadership can come from anywhere. You don’t have to be a certain type of person or have a certain type of education to be a leader. You just have to be willing to throw yourself into the fight. That’s all it takes.

    HMTC is looking for young people across Long Island who are throwing themselves into the fight and making a difference in large and small ways. If you know of a middle school or high school student who fits this description, contact Tracy Garrison-Feinberg, director of school programs, at tracygarrisonfeinberg@hmtcli.org. Please also encourage them to apply for our annual Upstander Award – the deadline for submissions is January 11, 2016.

  • Dave Staël Lacroix is HMTC’s July Upstander of the Month


    Dave Lacroix

    Dave Staël Lacroix, HMTC’s July Upstander of the Month, is a recent graduate of Westbury High School and is planning to attend Dartmouth College this fall. Like many young people, Dave found high school to be filled with challenges, especially his junior year. Having come to the United States from Haiti at the age of four and not knowing English, he had additional obstacles to overcome. But spurred on by a deep appreciation of the power of education, Dave chose to meet these challenges as opportunities, and wrote a book titled Into the Abyss: the Eleventh Grade Experience (available for purchase on Amazon) as a way to document how he faced the stress of junior year in high school. He began the book as a way to relieve his own stress and soon realized that he could help other students as well. He self-published the book in the summer of 2014, and has shared it and its lessons with younger Westbury High School students.

    Dave Staël Lacroix Book

    In a letter thanking HMTC for recognizing him as an “Upstander of the Month,” Dave said, “There is an old African proverb that I’ve always held dear to my heart: If you want to go faster, go alone. But if you want to go farther, go together.” As he prepares for the next chapter of his educational journey at Dartmouth, he carries with him the support of the Westbury community and intends to keep inspiring others to go farther, Dave Staël Lacroix as our Upstander of the Month for July.


  • 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.

  • Grace Smith is March Upstander of the Month

    Grace Smith is always poised, prepared and ready to volunteer. As an 8th grade student at Plainview Old Bethpage Middle School, Grace contributed much to the quality of life at school. She was an excellent student, eager to help her peers with difficult material and has continued as a high school peer mentor. She participated in the SOS program at her school where she would spend time with an autistic student to help him deal with socialization issues and the every day stress of attending middle school.

    Currently, Grace is a 9th grade student at John F. Kennedy High School where she belongs to various clubs and student organizations which all have a common thread of helping society in some way. One particular club in which Grace is very active is the Peer Mentors Club where she speaks to children who are nervous about entering high school. The best feature of The Peer Mentors Club for Grace is the Mentor-Mentee program. The Mentor- Mentee program is designed to help a specific student with whom volunteers like Grace can personally connect to address bullying and other difficult situations and give the student the assurance that he or she has someone to turn to for help. Most importantly Grace says, “We teach them how to be Upstanders!!”

    Congratulations Grace on being our March Upstander of the Month!