Shoa educators receive JFR Lerner fellowships

Shoa educators receive JFR Lerner fellowships

SIX NEW JERSEY educators are among the 22 middle and high school teachers selected by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) as 2017 Alfred Lerner Fellows. They are: Kate Sullivan and Caroline DeWyngaert of the Forrestdale School, Rumson; Shana Stein of Montclair High School; Thomas DeCou of Millville Senior High School; Heather Lutz of Pascack Hills High School, Montvale; and Michelle Myers of Sterling High School, Somerdale. The other fellows are from nine states, as well as two each from Croatia and Poland.

Through the program, participants delve into the complex history of the Holocaust and explore new techniques for introducing the subject into their classrooms. At its five-day Summer Institute, held at Columbia University June 25-29, the fellows met with Holocaust survivors and studied with prominent scholars. 

Fellows must be English or social studies teachers, have at least five years’ teaching experience, and currently teach the Holocaust. They each come from a region where the JFR operates Holocaust Centers of Excellence in conjunction with a local museum or center. International educators were first invited to join in 2001 at the request of the U.S. State Department. 

The Lerner program, said JFR executive vice president Stanlee Stahl of West Orange, provides the educators with “graduate-level courses on the Holocaust, pedagogical connections with other teachers and their curriculum, and resources for the classroom.” 

The program is named in memory of Alfred Lerner, the founding chair and CEO of MBNA Corporation, who was a long-time adviser and supporter of JFR programs and activities. 

In conjunction with the program, the JFR awarded the 2017 Eduard Sonder Scholarship to Lisa Marini of the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg. Sonder, a German Jew, was killed in the Shoa. Upon receiving payment from their grandfather’s life insurance policy, Kate Tarnofsky and Johanna Stark, sisters from West Orange, endowed the yearly scholarship.

JFR president Roman Kent said, “We are confident…our Lerner fellows will be able to enhance their classroom experience so that the next generation will be more responsive and moved by the lessons of this period in world history.” 

The JFR continues to provide monthly financial assistance to some 400 needy Righteous Gentiles, in 20 countries. 

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