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.
Among its many services, the JFCS provides the facilities and educational programs on the Holocaust for visiting teachers, adults, and student groups. My presentation today was to two dozen students from different high schools and backgrounds, plus their parents, thus launching the Next Chapter program. By participating in the Next Chapter, students learn about the Holocaust through survivor testimony and hearing from several different speakers over the course of the program. By learning to recognize the value in others’ stories and experiences, students learn to appreciate their own story and identity, as well as gain moral courage and a sense of social responsibility.
My talk was arranged by Nikki Bambauer, JFCS Holocaust Center’s Program Coordinator, while our Sunday afternoon event was managed by Yedida Kanfer, Manager of Library, Archives and Education Services, with support from Harley Kalter, Pell University Fellow, who ably handled my iPhone to photograph the event for this website.