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40 Student and Teacher Awards Given Out at Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies Ceremony

Posted 05/04/2012
Posted by David Isgur

The University of Hartford's Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies presented 40 students and teachers with awards in the largest, single ceremony ever held at the University of Hartford. At the ceremony, which is part of the Greenberg Center’s ongoing 25th anniversary year, more than $40,000 in scholarship awards were made to meritorious students and teachers in the region for summer and year-long studies at the University of Hartford.

Three highly deserving middle school and high school teachers received Holocaust Educators Awards; 12 students from area elementary and middle schools received Fishman Family Essay Contest Awards in American Jewish History; six University of Hartford Fishman Scholars in American Jewish History were named; and eight students received named summer Israel Study Abroad Scholarships from the Greenberg Center. In addition, the Grae Prize in Archaeology and the Jerome Caplan Scholar, the Greenberg Center’s highest academic award, were named at the ceremony, which was held on Thursday evening, May 3.

The ceremony featured the local middle and high school teachers speaking about their innovative curricula on the Holocaust and the winning elementary and middle school essays were viewed throughout the evening on a power-point.  A new exhibition in the Singer Family Gallery of the Museum of Jewish Civilization, “Veiled Women: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Women in Israel,” was also open for viewing during the evening.

The Holocaust Educator awards are named the Korzenik and Joseph Zola Holocaust Educator Awards. Thanks to the generosity of David Chase and the Chase Family Foundation, the Korzenik Memorial Holocaust Award was established to honor the work of a middle or high school teacher for innovative teaching of the lessons of the Holocaust. Thanks to the generosity of Joseph Zola and Matthew Rubin and their families, the Zola Award and professional grants support an award for an established middle or high school curriculum on the Holocaust or to support the development of a curriculum on the Holocaust. There were 15 semi-finalists named, and from that three award winners were selected.

The Award Winners:

  • Ramona  Puchalski-Piretti of Conard High School in West Hartford  is the 2012 recipient of the Korzenik Memorial Holocaust Educator Award for her project,  “We Must All Bear Witness. ” Ramona’s project is a multi-media, digital e-lesson with enormous reach on the internet. She previously won a 2010 Zola-Rubin Professional Development award and has been a regular at the Greenberg Center workshops.
  • Danelle Egan of Newtown Middle School is the recipient of the Zola Holocaust Educator Award for her project “How Could the Holocaust Happen? A Critical Analysis.” she will be making a presentation on her project which will show the types of interaction and work that she does with students at the Middle School in Newtown, CT.
  • Michael Little of Clarksburg Elementary School, Clarksburg, Mass., is the recipient of the Zola-Rubin Professional Development Grant for his project “The Nature of Blood: The Struggles of Second Generation Holocaust Survivors. Michael works with students in the elementary school in English courses. (Professional Development Holocaust Educator awards are intended to encourage teaching professionals to do research in order to develop new courses for middle and high school students.)
  • Rachel Rosenberg, a Judaic Studies major from Easton, was presented with the top academic award given by the Greenberg Center, the Jerome Caplan Memorial Scholar Award for 2012/2013. This award is given to one student who embodies the values and work of well-known community leader and lawyer Jerome Caplan.  In addition, Rachel, who will be attending the Greenberg Center summer excavations in 2012 has been awarded the Viking Oil Summer Scholarship to attend the excavations and language programs.
  • Joshua Gischner, a Judaic Studies major from Suffern, N.Y., received the “Jessica Kostin Memorial Israel Photography Scholarship” and a Richard Cardin Research Scholarship from the College of Arts and Sciences for summer research in the Greenberg Center’s Archaeology, Language and Culture programs in Israel. The Kostin Scholarship is given by Dane and Michele Kostin in honor of their daughter Jessica who participated in the Greenberg Center’s summer and winter archaeology programs.
  • Kailee Shraiberg, a criminal justice major with a Judaic Studies minor from Highland Park, Ill., was awarded the Dr. Rosalie H. Smith Memorial Israel Scholarship from the Israel Activities Fund at the Greenberg Center and also a Steven Konover Arabic Language and Culture Summer Scholarship. Dr. Smith was a long-time member of the Greenberg Center’s Board of Visitors and professor at the University of Hartford.
  • Eric Flaman, a history major from Walpole, Mass., was awarded the Sondra Goldman Memorial Israel Scholarship from the Israel Activities Fund at the Greenberg Center and the Steven Konover Arabic Language and Culture Summer Scholarship.
  • Emily Galica, a history major from Medford, Mass., was awarded the Beatrice Freund Berkowitz Memorial Israel Scholarship and the Simcha and Aaron Dubitzky Scholarship for the summer excavations in Israel.
  • Hannah Rosenberg from Easton was awarded the Calvin Mass Summer Scholarship in Israel from the Israel Activities Fund at the Greenberg Center.
  • Victoria “Nani” Cherenzia, an art history/rhetoric and professional writing major from Middletown, R.I., was awarded the Joel and SusAnna Grae Prize in Archaeology for 2012. This prize is given to a student who presents an innovative project on our Grae Antiquities Collection at the Museum. Her video project is a virtual museum that will be featured on the Greenberg Center’s website on the Grae’s Antiquities Collection.

Six Fishman Fellows, chosen from among University of Hartford students, were also be named for 2012. The Fellows were honored for their work with students at Yachad-Greater Hartford Jewish Community High School during this past semester. Their teaching included topics in American Jewish History. The Fellows for 2012 are: Shayna Ull from Edison, N.J., Eric Maurer from Burlington, Mass., Adam Velk from Island Lake, Ill., Hanna LaRock from South Setauket, N.Y., Elissa Katz from Armonk, N.Y., and Samantha Gordon from Chestnut Hill, Mass.

In addition, 12 area students were selected from among 50 submissions to an essay contest on American Jewish Heroes to receive Fishman Family Awards in American Jewish Life and Culture. Winners were selected from all grade levels from the following schools: Sigel Hebrew Academy of Greater Hartford, Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford, and Yachad: Greater Hartford Jewish Community High School. The Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy Second Grade Class submissions will be given a group award. The individual winners, who are all students at the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy of Greater Hartford, will receive gift cards.

Fourth Grade Student winners are: Moshe Loew, for his essay on Hank Greenberg and Maia Chameides, for her essay on Harry Houdini; Fifth Grade Student winners are:Casey Greenbaum for her essay on Judy Blume and Kinneret Hannah Kanik for her essay on Jacob Neusner; Sixth Grade Student winners are: Evyatar Gedaliah Kanik for his essay on Mickey Marcus and Nachi Loew for his essay on Uriah P. Levy; Seventh Grade Student winners are: Ora Chaya Halpern for her essay on Rabba Sara Hurwitz and Meira Goldfishcher for her essay on Renee Headings; and Eighth Grade Student winners are: Ilan Small for his essay on Paul Newman and Esther Schlossberg for her essay on Bella Abzug.

Finally, the Greenberg Center will be announcing its scholarships awardees for its majors and minors for the 2012-2013 academic year. Judaic Studies includes three separate degrees: A BA in the College of Arts and Sciences, a joint BA degree between ENHP and the College of ENHP in elementary education and Judaic Studies, and a joint BM degree between the Hartt School for the Performing Arts and the College of Arts and Sciences in Pre-Cantorial Studies.  9 students will be awarded 2012-2013 that evening with Greenberg Center named scholarships for a grand total of $40,000 of scholarship awards and prizes.

For more information on the Greenberg Center or the awards ceremony, contact the Center at 860.768.4964 or