At this year’s Day of Learning, we focused on change makers in history and those who have stood up for what they believe in. Students (grades 7-12) and educators from all public and private schools throughout California were invited to gain a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and patterns of genocide in order to inspire moral courage and social responsibility in the future.
Presented each spring in San Francisco, more than 700 students and teachers from 120 different schools participate annually in the Day of Learning. See photos from the Day of Learning 2016 >
The JFCS Holocaust Center invites schools and youth groups to join us as partners for the Day of Learning. To learn more about this partnership opportunity, contact Morgan Blum Schneider at 415-449-1289 or MorganB@jfcs.org.
A Tale of Two Priests: The Hateful Propagandist and the Courage to Care
France’s Father Jacques fought Nazi policies and made his boys’ school a refuge for Jews. Detroit’s Father Charles Coughlin’s radio broadcasts attacked the Jewish community in the 1930s, citing an “international conspiracy of Jewish bankers” and protesting the rescue of Jews. This workshop will examine acts of courage and the art of propaganda.
Patterns of Genocide and Conflict
In 1948 the United Nations established an international law against genocide, yet how genocide is defined continues to be controversial. Using film, text, and images, this workshop will explore genocide and conflict in the Holocaust, as well as in Australia, South Africa, and Syria. Together we will discuss the many different definitions of genocide and how genocide continues in our world today.
Remembering, Thinking, and Contemplation: The Role of Holocaust Memorials
What do Holocaust memorials teach us? Follow me on a commemorative journey with victims of the Holocaust: Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, Poles, and others. Together we will explore what remains of the train lines and former concentration camps. We will discuss the purpose and impact of memorials in Germany and Poland, and draft our own concepts of effective memorials.
America and the Holocaust: From Deceit and Indifference to Courage and Compassion
America’s response to the Holocaust was characterized by both failures and successes. An obstructive U.S. State Department, an indifferent president and public, and inadequate press coverage sealed the fate of many victims of World War II. Yet some heroes also emerged. The legacies of America’s response to the Holocaust matter and provide lessons for the current refugee crisis.
Awake and Fight: Acts of Resistance in the Camps and Ghettos (This workshop has reached registration capacity)
Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. How could so many people have been killed? Did Jews fight back? In this workshop we will explore what Jewish resistance looked like in Nazi Germany’s camps and ghettos.
Fighting Back: Teenage Armed Resistance During the Holocaust (This workshop has reached registration capacity)
When (if ever) is violence an appropriate response to aggression, and who decides? Explore the history of Jewish resistance against the Nazis by examining the tactics of the Jewish partisans (covert groups who engaged in guerrilla warfare and sabotage against Nazi oppression). The workshop will also detail other ways that Jews fought back, including spiritual and political resistance.
First We Remember, Then We Resist: Remembering Through Art and Action
The past can weigh us down or it can inspire us to action. Explore the work of artists who take memories of the Holocaust, genocide, war, and injustice and transform them into creative representations. Sometimes surprisingly beautiful, other times painful to see, art communicates across land and time.
From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Acts of Rescue During the Rwandan Genocide
When violence broke out in Rwanda in 1994, western nations turned their backs while hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed in the streets. However, a few extraordinary individuals risked their lives to save innocent people. Who were they and why did they stay?
Like a Tree Planted by the Waters: Holding on to Faith, Tradition, and Identity in a Collapsing World
Did Jews maintain their religious practice during the Holocaust? What are the beliefs, dreams, and hopes that can never be taken away from you? By examining the experiences of individuals during the Holocaust, we will explore the role that rituals, traditions, and beliefs played in maintaining identity and hope in the midst of a collapsing world.
Standing Up to Persecution: Acts of Rebellion in Poland
How do we as members of a society stand up on behalf of those who are being persecuted? This workshop will focus on Poles who pushed back against the oppressive Nazi regime, including a soldier who sneaked into the Warsaw Ghetto to report on the atrocities, and a group of young Jews who buried diaries and documents comprised of the memories of the doomed community under the streets of Warsaw.
The Bosnian Genocide and Us: What Happened in the Former Yugoslavia and Its Relevance Today
Bosnia was a multi-ethnic society with all the markings of tolerance across religious and ethnic identities. Yet the society descended into a brutal process of ethnic cleansing involving population transfer, detention camps, and genocide. This workshop will discuss the history of the conflict and its implications today.
The Ten Stages of Genocide: From the Armenian Case Onward
Can we stop genocide before the killing starts? Learning to identify the predictable stages of genocide is the key to preventing it. What can we learn from the first modern genocide of the 20th century? The case of the Armenian Genocide serves as a template for describing the genocidal process and the early warning signs we can detect.
Tools of Resistance: Women Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors of World War II in the Pacific
Whether they were pushing their way to the frontline of battle or merely surviving in extreme situations, the heroines of WWII all had one thing in common: resilience. In this workshop learn stories of women in the Pacific who used non-violent methods to fight for what they believed in.
Unveiling America: Reimagining Gender in Today’s World
Using images and popular culture artifacts, we will trace the ways gender is shaped alongside the rise of an “American” identity. Discussions will include comparisons of “black” and “Asian” masculinities in relation to “whiteness,” the effects of colonialism on women’s bodies, gender identity and sexuality in Nazi Germany, and the role of race and gender today.
Us vs. Them: Notions of “Otherness” in the Holocaust and in Contemporary Life
Who is “one of us” and who is “other?” Who’s “in” and who’s “out?” This workshop explores how notions of “otherness” laid the groundwork for the Holocaust and how challenging these notions laid the groundwork for resistance and rescue. We will also consider contemporary applications of this theme in our schools, country, and world.
Where Can I Go?: Refugees and U.S. Immigration Polices – Then and Now
This workshop will look at the plight of Jewish refugees trying to flee Nazi Germany in the 1930s, as well as Syrian and Afghani refugees today. What can we learn from examining U. S. immigration policies during the Holocaust and in the present? What actions can we take in the face of a global refugee crisis?
Stories through the Generations: Unlocking the Power of Oral History
Talking with older relatives and community members about their lives is a great way for students to build practical skills, develop new relationships, and unlock exciting historical stories. Learn how to lead an oral history project with your students and brainstorm with colleagues about how to bring inter-generational story-sharing into your classroom or community.
Women’s Voices: Testimony as a Tool of Empowerment
The majority of historical narrative is told from the male perspective. In this workshop we will explore IWitness, an educational website that streams testimony related to the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and other genocides. Together we will develop effective strategies for using testimony in our classrooms by listening to female survivors share their stories in their words.
Marna Blanchard is a graduate of UC Berkeley, and been teaching in the San Francisco Unified School District for 23 years. In 2006 she received a fellowship to the Bay Area Writing Project’s Summer Institute. Marna is a Master Teacher, working with local universities to mentor and host students and teachers.
Mitch Braff is the Founding Executive Director of the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation (JPEF), the foremost source for educational material on the Jewish partisans. Its extensive curricula include films, lessons, and video testimonies. JPEF has brought the history and lessons of the Jewish partisans to students and teachers worldwide.
Michael Sepidoza Campos teaches Ethics, The Question of Religion and Society, and Theory of Knowledge at Stuart Hall High School, Schools of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco.
Sara Cohan is an educational consultant specializing in human rights and genocide education. She works with the USC Shoah Foundation and The Genocide Education Project. Cohan’s background combines research, study, curriculum development, and teaching. Previously Cohan was a high school teacher for seven years.
Nicole Dahlstrom is the Education Director for Pacific Atrocities Education, an organization that informs and educates about the acts of genocide and other atrocities committed against Asian Pacific peoples during 1931-1945 because of bias, prejudice, and discrimination. She has been researching and educating communities about World War II in the Pacific since 2014.
Adrian Mison Fulay is the Chair of the Religious Studies Department at Salesian College Preparatory, where he teaches World Religions and Sacred Scriptures. As a 2014 Tauber Holocaust Educator Fellow he participated at the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Leah Greenberg creates engagement opportunities for teens of all backgrounds as the Youth Programs Manager at The Contemporary Jewish Museum. Past career highlights include Program Director at Youth Art Exchange, Director of SF Mime Troupe’s Youth Theater Project, outreach and education for the Ethnic Dance Festival, and a teacher in Oakland public schools.
Larisa Klebe brings a background in Jewish education and a passion for studying history to her role as Program Manager at the Jewish Women’s Archive. She holds an undergraduate degree in History and European Cultural Studies from Brandeis University and a Master’s degree in History and Museum Studies from Tufts University.
Roxanne Makasdjian is Co-founder and member of The Genocide Education Project Board of Directors. She is UC Berkeley’s Director of Broadcast Communications and previously worked as a national television news producer. Roxanne holds a Master’s in Journalism and has served as president of KZV Armenian School’s Board of Education.
Jim McGarry has been a Holocaust educator since 1992. He is the founder of the Farkas Center for the Study of the Holocaust in Catholic Schools. He now works at Notre Dame de Namur University, and has recently made his second study trip to Poland.
Raymond O’Connor teaches a class called Justice and coordinates the Service Program at Stuart Hall High School, Schools of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco.
Eileen O’Kane is a History teacher at Lick-Wilmerding High School where she teaches classes in Modern World History, U.S. Immigration, and Genocides of the 20th Century. Eileen has worked with Facing History and Ourselves, Jewish LearningWorks, and the JFCS Holocaust Center. Eileen currently sits on the board of the Farkas Center for the Study of the Holocaust in Catholic Schools.
Adrian Schrek is the director of the Teen Curriculum Initiative (TCI), a program of Jewish LearningWorks. TCI partners with high school students, educators, and administrators to strengthen school communities through Jewish multicultural programming. TCI is recognized for its innovative programming, professional development, and leadership opportunities for Jews, friends, and allies.
Carrie J. Schroeder is the Director of Campus Ministry at Mercy High School. She holds a Master of Divinity and a Doctorate in Catholic Educational Leadership. A Tauber Holocaust Educator Fellow, Carrie has studied the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and in Poland and Israel.
Ilona Shechter has taught Holocaust Studies for the past 25 years. She is a Museum Teacher Fellow of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and an alumna of the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. She recently traveled to Germany and Poland and studied at the sites of former concentration and extermination camps.
Maayan Stanton is the Communications and Programs Coordinator at Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture. She previously lived in Poland, where she helped revive the pre-war Jewish athletic club, Makabi Warszawa. Her background is in Museum Studies and visual manifestations of memories of war and genocide around the world. Maayan is an active member of the leadership team of 3gSF, a forum for grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to meet, connect, and explore their shared history.
Bonnie Sussman teaches Social Studies at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, including the courses The Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Contemporary Politics of the Middle East. She is a Museum Teacher Fellow of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and conducts teacher workshops on the teaching of the Holocaust.
Jack Weinstein established the Northern California branch of the educational organization Facing History and Ourselves in 1996. In his current role he designs and conducts workshops and seminars for educators, oversees staff, and develops curriculum on genocide and human rights. Jack was a high school teacher for over 20 years.
Peretz Wolf-Prusan is Chief Program Officer and Senior Educator at Lehrhaus Judaica, where he is engaged in community education for the Bay Area and adjunct faculty for the JFCS Holocaust Center. Prior to his current work, Peretz was a synagogue rabbi and educator, and before rabbinic school a teacher of junior high and high school students.