- JFCS in the News
Twelve years ago, JFCS Executive Director, Dr. Anita Friedman, visited her father’s ancestral village in the Polish countryside. Since then she has returned to Gniewoszow multiple times and joins thousands of Jews who have traveled to Poland since the fall of communism. Friedman has built relationships with the local community and helped rededicate its Jewish cemetery as she grapples with her family’s lost homeland. She is also teaching teens in the Bay Area about this important history.
JFCS is the leader in Holocaust education in Northern California, and thousands of students each year learn about the Holocaust and other genocides through the JFCS Holocaust Center.
Additionally, teens who participate in JFCS’ YouthFirst program also receive Holocaust education. Friedman recently taught teens participating in the YouthFirst summer internships about her family’s history in Gniewoszow, Poland.
The summer interns first had the chance to think about how their families’ traditions have shaped who they are as people, and then Friedman shared her family’s experiences during the Holocaust and her powerful story about returning to Gniewoszow. The students were able to see very clearly that her family history has directly informed her core values.
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- JFCS in the News
By Rob Gloster
As a child, Iris Bendahan was confused when her grandmother would speak of relatives who were “not here because of Hitler.” It wasn’t until her sixth-grade class in Israel saw an exhibition on the Holocaust that she finally understood.
As an adult, the former religious school principal at Congregation Beth David in Saratoga has made it her mission to ensure Bay Area kids have no such confusion.
Bendahan, 57, personally created a Holocaust museum that has been on display each spring at Beth David since 2009. This year, it will be available for viewing until May 3. The museum is open during synagogue hours and there’s no admission charge.
The museum project helped make Bendahan one of the three winners this year of the Morris Weiss Award for Outstanding Holocaust Education, presented by the Holocaust Center at Jewish Family and Children’s Services. The award was established by the family of the late Morris Weiss, a survivor and the founder of the JFCS Holocaust Center.