by George J Elbaum
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) is a San Francisco Bay Area social services organization whose mission statement is “Serving individuals and families of all faiths and backgrounds, guided by the Jewish value of caring for those in our community most in need.” As such, JFCS carries a special responsibility within the Jewish community for reaching out to children, the aged, those with special needs, and for the resettlement and acculturation of refugees and immigrants.
JFCS’s Holocaust Center also conducts teacher training seminars focused on teaching tolerance and social responsibility, and today I spoke to 18 high school teachers from the South and East Bay and beyond participating in a professional development program now in its sixth year being run through the UC Davis History Project. The workshop, The History and Memory of the Holocaust, for high school English and History teachers, meets for a total of six days over a six-month period. Teachers are exposed to the most recent scholarship on the Holocaust through lectures by academics. Prior to my talk, the teachers spent the day at the Tauber Holocaust Library where they did research on the topic about which they’ll create a new lesson plan for their students.
The workshop is organized by Diane Wolf, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Jewish Studies Program at UC Davis and co-directed by Stacey Greer from the History Project and Serenity Krieger, a teacher-leader, both of whom accompanied the participating teachers. It is funded by both the Claims Conference and private donors, and it’s the third year I have spoken at the workshop. My talk was arranged by Nikki Bombauer, Program Coordinator of JFCS’s Holocaust Center, and attended by Morgan Blum, its Director of Education.