Maryland-Israel Partnership Hosts Professional Development Workshop and Opening Reception for
Remembrance and Rescue
In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a partnership of Maryland and Israeli organizations have joined together to present “Remembrance and Rescue,” an exhibits and education program. The exhibits, featuring collections from Yad Vashem and on loan from the American Society for Yad Vashem and the Israeli humanitarian aid agency, IsraAID, are on display at the Bender JCC in Rockville, Maryland, from January 13 through February 23, 2020.
- The Maryland-Israel Sister State Committee
- The Israeli-American Council
- The Embassy of Israel
- The Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington.
The partners offer gratitude to the American Society for Yad Vashem and IsraAID, which have served as partners, as well as Spectrum Printing and Graphics of Rockville, which has produced the IsraAID exhibit panels.
The reception, which takes place at 6:30 PM on January 23, 2020 at the Bender JCC of Greater Washington, is the official opening for the program. Featured speakers include Albanian Ambassador Floreta Faber, Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith, Israel’s Deputy Head of Mission to the U.S., Benjamin Krasna, and Marlene W. Yahalom, PhD, who is the Director of Education for the American Society for Yad Vashem.
At the Reception, in addition to the featured speakers, there will be Ambassadors, Deputy Heads of Missions, Counselors and other officials representing close to a dozen embassies, including: Albania, Austria, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Serbia, Poland, as well as international NGOs representing Guatemala, Turkey, Russia, China and South Africa. We are also honored to be hosting a multitude of officials from the Governments of the City of Gaithersburg, Montgomery County, the District of Columbia, the Maryland General Assembly, 7 State agencies of the State of Maryland, 5 federal agencies of the United States of America.
Professional Development Workshop
Importantly, a Professional Development Workshop takes place the day prior to the Reception on January 22nd. In October, the Maryland Superintendent of Schools’ made an announcement that was front page of the Washington Post. Dr. Salmon said, “We are going to boost Holocaust education in middle and high schools across the state.” Therefore, the timing of the Workshop dovetails perfectly with the objectives of the Maryland State Department of Education. As a consequence, the Maryland-Israel partnership has been able to assemble educators and officials from around the State to learn from the abovementioned Marlene W. Yahalom, PhD. Participants will take materials back to their classrooms for their students. In attendance will be the Maryland State Coordinator for Social Studies (K-12), as well as county administrators and faculty for public and private schools in Montgomery County, Howard County and Anne Arundel County, as well as ASL interpreters and the curriculum director and the social studies chair for the Maryland School for the Deaf.
- A separate evening reception program designed specifically for BBYO teenagers and their parents will take place at the Bender JCC on February 3rd. This event is being organized by the Maryland-Israel Sister State Committee’s Student Chair, Ms. Kate Morgan, a 9th grader at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.
- Eitanim of the Israeli-American Council will have groups visiting the exhibits on January 29.
- Tzofim, the Israeli Scouts, will be visiting the exhibits on January 26.
About the Exhibits
BESA: A Code of Honor-Muslim Albanians Who Rescued Jews during the Holocaust
This exhibit, developed and curated by Yad Vashem, is about the ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ – non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. It is comprised of portraits and text about Muslim families in Albania, who saved Jews during the Holocaust, converging two seemingly opposed worlds. The remarkable assistance afforded to Jews during this time was grounded in BESA, the code of honor which still exists today. This exhibit is on loan from the American Society for Yad Vashem.
IsraAID: Stories of Courage and Resilience
This exhibit features photographs and stories documenting rescue and relief efforts by Israel for world communities devastated by natural disasters. Photos/resources provided by IsraAID.
According to Randy Morgan, Chair of the Maryland-Israel Sister State Committee, the program was inspired by Maryland Governor Lawrence Hogan’s visit in 2016 to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to victims of the Holocaust. “As I understand,” says Morgan, “The Governor was so moved by his experience at Yad Vashem that he returned to the Memorial on his own unofficially before he returned home to Maryland.”
While the Remembrance and Rescue Program was initiated by the Maryland-Israel Sister State Committee, it would have been impossible to produce without the Committee’s committed partners, its generous sponsors, and a strong sense of community. According to Morgan, “We are grateful to have such a broad community of support for our program – a multi-faith, multi-cultural, multi-generational, non-partisan and international community coming together to remember the lessons and honor the victims of the Holocaust.”
Lisa Del Sesto
Stuart and Ellen Lessans Family
Phyllis and Leonard Attman Foundation
Morgan Family Pencoyd Foundation
Suzanne and Joshua Schonfeld Family
American Society for Yad Vashem
Spectrum Printing and Graphics