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Students and Teachers Honored at Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies Awards Ceremony

Posted 05/01/2013
Posted by David Isgur

The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford presented nearly 40 student and teacher awards and distributed more than $30,000 in student and teacher scholarships to honor excellence in the classroom and innovative research and work in the fields of American Jewish history, Holocaust and Genocide studies, and Jewish poetry at its Judaic Studies Awards Ceremony. The ceremony, held on Monday, April 29, continues the new initiatives in Genocide and Holocaust Education in the region announced with the visit of the President of Rwanda at the University of Hartford on March 12. 

Three highly deserving middle school and high school teachers received this year’s Holocaust and Genocide Educators Awards, 12 Judaic Studies named scholarships were given to majors and minors for the 2013-2014 academic year, 15 students from area elementary, middle, and high schools received Fishman Family Essay Contest Awards in American Jewish History, one University of Hartford Fishman Scholar in American Jewish History and one Fishman Jewish Communal Leadership Award were named, and six students received named summer Israel Study Abroad Scholarships from the Greenberg Center. The Jerome Caplan Scholar, (the highest academic award of the Greenberg Center), was also presented at this special ceremony.

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 on view throughout the evening. The new exhibition in the Singer Family Gallery of the University’s Museum of Jewish Civilization, “Visions of Israel: The Art and Illustrations of Chaim Gross,” was also open for viewing during the evening.

The Holocaust and Genocide Educator Awards

Margaret Domina of Coventry, R.I. is the 2013 recipient of the Korzenik Memorial Holocaust Educator Award (made possible by the Chase Family Foundation), for her project, Anne Frank, Her Legacy Lives On.” Domina is an eighth-grade teacher at Thompson Middle School in North Grosvernordale, Conn. Her project is a six-week curriculum developed around the play, The Diary of Anne Frank, which teaches students tolerance, diversity, and common core standards through this key text.

Mark Yanaway of Wamogo High School in Litchfield, CT, for his project “Creating a Campaign of Tolerance” and Colleen Simon of St. James School in Stratford, for her project, “Complicity and Beyond,”are the recipients of the 2013 Zola-Rubin Professional Development Grants (made possible by the generosity of Mr. Joseph Zola and Matthew Rubin and their families). 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.

Greenberg Center Academic Awards

The Greenberg Center cultivates leadership in the classroom and this year had four students, Elissa Katz, Josh Gischner, Emily Galica, and Kailee Shraiberg, present their research on their work in Israel at the University’s prestigious Undergraduate Research Colloquium on April 14.

The Greenberg Center announced its scholarships awardees for its majors and minors for the 2013-2014 academic year. Judaic Studies includes two separate degrees: A BA in the College of Arts and Sciences and a joint BA degree between ENHP and the College of ENHP in elementary education and Judaic Studies.  Two students—Elaine Lampert and Nessa Melnick—were given the Millie and Irving Bercowetz Judaic Studies Scholarships, three students— Kailee Shraiberg, Arieh Fried, and Isabella Safdie—were given the Beth S. Kaplan Scholarships, two students—Joshua Gischner and Samantha Gordon—were given the Judith P. Wolfson Memorial scholarships, Douglas Bearak received the George J. Sherman and Lottie K. Sherman scholarship, and Arieh Fried was given a Jack and Tillie Bayer scholarship.  Adara Brookler, an elementary education and Judaic Studies major, earned the Louis and Martha Silver Scholarship.

Summer Israel Study Abroad scholarships were also announced at the ceremony in memory of: Selma Levine Zorn, Lillian M. Singer, Jessica Kostin, Ralph Shulansky, Ervin Morton Milner, Doris Frank Ferraro, and Sally Wagner, all named in memory of people who shared a special relationship with the Greenberg Center and in honor of family members who serve on the Greenberg Center’s Board of Visitors.

Two Fishman Fellows in American Jewish History and Jewish Communal Leadership from the University of Hartford students were also named for 2013. Rachel Rosenberg (class of 2013) was recognized for her work in Jewish communal leadership as an intern to the Jewish Federation Association of CT (JFACT) during this past year and Elissa Katz (class of 2013) was recognized for her honors research project on American Jewish identity and summer programs in Israel.

The Fishman Family Awards in American Jewish Life and Culture, a community–wide essay contest, which this year focused on the theme: “What Makes You an American Jew?” chose 15 winners from nearly 75 submissions.  Students conducted extensive family history research in answering the question “What Makes You an American Jew?”

Solomon Schecter Day School Fourth Grade Student winners: Aaron Rotter and Victoria Boustani

Solomon Schecter Day School Fifth Grade Student winners: Maia Chameides and Ruth Nawy (for their poems on the theme “Where I Come From”)

Solomon Schecter Day School Seventh Grade Student winner: Ilana Kranc for her essay (in Hebrew)

Solomon Schecter Day School Eighth Grade Student winners: Gabrielle Gershon and Sydney Weiser

Hebrew Academy Fourth grade winner: Yonatan Cohen

Hebrew Academy Fifth grade winners: Moshe Loew and Hannah Gitman

Hebrew Academy Seventh grade winner: Tamar Schreiber

Hebrew Academy Eighth grade winner: Meira Goldfischer

Two hinth-grade students were also selected as winners for their outstanding essays: Sophia Katz (Hebrew High School of New England) and Esther Schlossberg (Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts)

As the climax of the evening, the Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry award was given to Elliott Levine, a graduating senior in Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford and Lucy Biederman, a first year doctoral student in English and Creative Writing at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. The Hoff American Jewish Poetry award is a national poetry award named in honor of Muriel Hoff of North Carolina.

Following the poetry prizes, Joshua Gischner, a Judaic Studies and history major and gender studies minor and honors student at the University of Hartford, was announced as the Jerome Caplan Fellow, the Greenberg Center’s highest academic award.

For more information, please contact the Greenberg Center at 860.768.4964.