Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

L'Shana Tova from the Holocaust Center

 


I’m so proud to be the executive director of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida. By using the history and lessons of the Holocaust as the foundation for all of our programs, we are helping our Central Florida community better understand the meaning of prejudice and racism, of discrimination and anti-Semitism, of terror and violence, and of indifference and insensitivity.

Just since last September we have touched more than 20,000 students, teachers and museum visitors with our wide variety of program opportunities. While that’s certainly an impressive number, and one that has grown remarkably over the past few years, it’s simply a number. What really matters is the impact our programs are having in our schools and in our community—none of which would be possible without you.

Your support of our UpStanders: Stand Up To Bullying initiative has given close to 12,000 students at 31 schools in three counties the courage, confidence and tools to stand up for themselves and their peers and to be proud of all of the things that make them unique.

Your support of our cultural season and educational programs is changing the way our community talks about diversity and how we demonstrate our respect for each other’s differences. The popularity of our recent “Religion 101” series, widely recognized as one of the best programs of last season, revealed a genuine desire to learn about our religious neighbors’ traditions and beliefs while simultaneously discovering that it’s possible to agree to disagree on some basic fundamental principles.

You are helping us build a more respectful, open-minded community. Every exhibit, film and program we offer brings a human face and individual voice to the Holocaust or another disenfranchised group that demands our attention. It is in those faces and voices we see the ultimate cost of prejudice, inspiring a deeper understanding of contemporary genocides and other social issues.

Because of you we are changing hearts and minds and by doing so, we are changing lives.

Your support ensures that the lessons of the Holocaust will never be lost and the memory of those affected will be preserved. We continue to develop new ways in which to share the testimonies of our community’s Holocaust survivors because each victim, survivor and rescuer has a unique story that must be told, shared and remembered. Because of you future generations will be able to hear these recordings and be inspired to carry on the legacy of Holocaust remembrance. As Elie Wiesel recently said, “It is the last gift of the dead to the living. We give you our story. It’s up to you to do something with it in order to save mankind.”

Thank you for helping us build a vibrant community with a strong commitment to human rights and a profound respect for each other’s differences.

On behalf of the Holocaust Center’s board of directors and staff, we want to wish you and your family a happy, healthy and peace-filled New Year.

President Jim Shapiro and Executive Director Pam Kancher

 

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