(Youngstown, Ohio - October 28, 2011) Holocaust educator Lana Bernhardt, the U.S. Coordinator of the International Book Sharing Project (IBSP), will visit seven area schools engaged in a Holocaust literature project, from Monday, October 31 through Friday, November 4, 2011. Students from Austintown Middle School, Boardman Center Middle School, W.S. Guy Middle School in Liberty, Wilson Middle School in Youngstown, Sharpsville Area Middle School, Niles Middle School, and Howland High School, are participating with student counterparts in Israel in the IBSP, a project-based Holocaust educational curriculum directed by the American Friends of the Ghetto Fighter's Museum in the Western Galilee region of Israel. The Ghetto Fighters' Museum is one of the world's largest teaching museums and documentation centers on the Jewish response and resistance to the Holocaust.
The Valley's participation in the ISBP, now in its eighth year, is sponsored by the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation's Partnership with Israel. This year's teacher participants are Michelle Best in Austintown, Jesse McClain, a renowned Holocaust educator who travels frequently to Europe and Israel, in Boardman, Gina Carbone in Liberty, Jennifer Roseck and Lauren Olson-Sadlak at Wilson, Ira Pataki in Sharpsville, Melissa Ciminero in Niles, and Thom Williams in Howland.
According to Myra Benedikt, the Federation's Partnership Chairperson, the Book Sharing Project was established internationally in 1995 and now involves more than 3000 middle and high school students. Locally, the project links American and Israeli students in the reading, study, and on-line discussion of Holocaust literature and history. An American class is twinned directly with an Israeli class, and all students read and study the same book. Benedikt added that the American students are connected to their counterparts in Israel on a bi-lingual "virtual school website" and that the goal of the project is to "use technology and an innovative curriculum to bring American and Israeli students together to study the Holocaust, and to learn the universal lessons of tolerance and humanity."
Bernhardt will be at Boardman Center Middle School on Monday, October 31st all day beginning at 7:45 a.m. On Tuesday, November 1st, she will be at Sharpsville Area Middle School from 8am - 9:30 a.m., and then Austintown Middle School from 11:56 a.m. - 1:59 p.m. On Wednesday, November 2nd, she will be at W.S. Guy Middle School in Liberty from 8:50 a.m. - 10:50 a.m., followed by Wilson Middle School from 11:45 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. On Thursday, November 3rd, Bernhardt will be at Howland High School from 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. The local students and teachers will be participating in classroom projects and discussions related to their Holocaust curriculum during Bernhardt's time at the schools. In addition to the school visits, Bernhardt will also conduct a Holocaust education training workshop for current and prospective IBSP teachers on Thursday, November 3 from 4:15-6:00 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center in Youngstown.
The Partnership with Israel, established in 1994 by United Jewish Communities of North America and the Jewish Agency for Israel, connects some 550 communities around the world with Israeli communities in 44 such partnerships. Youngstown is a part of the Central Area Consortium which promotes people-to-people relationships between 14 Jewish communities in the U.S., and the Western Galilee region on the Mediterranean Sea in Israel, through educational, cultural, social, medical, and economic programs. The Western Galilee, home to the largest Arab and Druze communities in Israel, is the most culturally and religiously diverse areas of the country where the mixing of Jewish, Muslim Arab, Christian Arab, and Druze populations is most active.
For additional information, contact Andrew Lipkin, Assistant Executive Director at (330) 746-3251.
MEDIA ADVISORY: The Media is invited and encouraged to attend all listed activities. When visiting the schools, please check in at the main offices and ask for the specific teachers for each school.