Dallas Doings: Scholarships, remembering Anne Frank
Contributed photo Ruth Andres, Aaron Lansky, Tina Wasserman and Richard Wasserman

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

DJCF to announce scholarship award winners May 18

The 24th Annual College Scholarship Reception presented by the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation is Monday, May 18, 2015. This is an opportunity for us to showcase the future, in the form of amazing and bright college students, while honoring donors who endowed scholarships at the Foundation to make these students’ education possible.
This year the Foundation Scholarship Committee awarded 37 college scholarships.
Since the application process is strictly anonymous, this event is especially meaningful for the volunteers who comprise the scholarship selection committee. It provides the opportunity to meet the recipients who have remained nameless throughout the process as well as their families who often attend.
Since many of the scholarships are open to students of all backgrounds and faiths, it is a true multigenerational and multicultural event.
The Texas Jewish Post is sponsoring the event, which will be held at 7 p.m. at Temple Shalom and feature live music by The Mazik Bros.
For more information or to RSVP contact Natasha Shovar at nshovar@djcf.org or 214-615-9351.
Aaron Lansky shares a bissel about the Yiddish Book Center
Aaron Lansky, founder and director of the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts was the guest speaker at a dessert reception Monday, April 13. The reception was cohosted by Ruth Andres and Tina and Richard Wasserman.
Forty guests heard the amazing story of the development of the Book Center over the past 32 years.
Mr. Lansky told of the phone call that gave birth to the center asking him to rescue thousands of “rain soaked” Yiddish books that had been tossed into a dumpster in a New York alley. From that first collection to the present day, there are now more than 250,000 Yiddish books in a climate controlled vault, and others stored in secured locations.
The collection and cataloging of these Yiddish books has become the basis of many conservation and educational projects:

  • The Center has an online digital library, underwritten by Hollywood director Steven Spielberg. To date, 1.3 million downloads have been recorded. Also, the Center has a research project to make the library computer searchable for names and words.
  • The Center organizes a Great Jewish Books Summer Program — a weeklong exploration of translated works of literature and culture for high school students.
  • The Steiner Summer Yiddish Program — a seven-week intensive course in Yiddish language and culture for college students.
  • A fellowship program — a yearlong professional experience in Yiddish language and culture works.
  • Online and on-site course for adult studies.
  • Klez camp — a Jewish music experience.
  • Many other courses in development.

As Mr. Lansky told of the development of each program, his enthusiasm and excitement were very apparent. When he ended his presentation, the guests gave him a standing ovation.
The Yiddish Book Center functions on memberships, donations and endowments. It is striving to increase its funding. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Yiddish Book Center is encouraged to call them at 413-256-4900.
If you have any Yiddish books that are “calling” to be rescued from attics, boxes, bookshelves and hand-me-downs from Baba or Zaida, please call the Center’s Dallas “zammler” (collector), Miriam Creemer, at 972-980-8981, or email zammler@fastmail.us. “A shainem dank.”

Remembering Anne Frank: Lakehill Prep sixth graders dig into historical literature

A high point of Lakehill English teacher Elizabeth Schmitt’s sixth-grade literature curriculum explores a dark point in history. Students read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, while also learning about the Holocaust.
“It is a daunting, but important topic to introduce to sixth graders,” said Schmitt, English and literature teacher. “We finish up a unit encompassing Civil Rights in the United States, and then dive into World War II and anti-Semitism.” Schmitt spends a week with her classes discussing the historical background of the Frank family and World War I and II using an interactive timeline on the Anne Frank House website.
To bring the topic home, students are asked to research what their families were doing during World War II.
“My father was a radar operator in a B-24 Liberator, flying missions over Europe,” Schmitt said. “Because he was Jewish, he flew with two sets of dog-tags. I didn’t learn this about my dad until I was 12 years old. It made the war much more real to me.”
Some students have learned that family members landed on D-Day, fought under Patton, or, in the case of Emma Myers, were taken prisoner. Myers’ father, Trent, spoke to both sixth grade classes about his grandfather who spent over two years in Stalag III. He shared an illustrated journal that was passed carefully around the class.
“I really liked learning about my heritage and reading about my great-grandfather and his heroic adventures,” Emma said.
The sixth grade also took a field trip to the Dallas Holocaust Museum where they could see artifacts from the Holocaust, many donated by Dallas-area survivors. “I think seeing the Xyclon-B canister up close was the scariest thing,” Keegan Clendenin said. “The exhibits made all we had studied very real. It made me wish that America had acted sooner.”
The unit culminates with each student creating a diary from the perspective of someone in the Holocaust. Students can create a character, but most focus on
real-life people such as Miep Gies, who helped hide the Frank family, Irena Sendler, who smuggled over 2,500 children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, and Eva Schoss, an acquaintance of Anne Frank who was also in hiding and whose mother later married Otto Frank.
Others use events such as Kristallnacht, the Voyage of the St. Louis, or the kindertransport as the background of their projects. “It has been really interesting finding out about Nicholas Winston,” said Maddison Cerda. “Without doing this project, I would never have known that he saved hundreds of children from the Nazis.”

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