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 several dozen students from different high schools and their parents, participating in this year’s Next Chapter program, as I also did last year. The Next Chapter is an introduction to the history of the Holocaust for 9th through 12th graders. In The Next Chapter, teens develop profound connections with Holocaust survivors. 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 Penny Savryn, JFCS Holocaust Center’s Program Coordinator, who also introduced me to the audience. The Sunday afternoon event was managed by Yedida Kanfer, Manager of Library, Archives.