Published On: Tue, Aug 13th, 2019

Southern NCSY To Screen Spielberg Holocaust Film In Palm Beach County Public Schools

Boca Raton, FL –  In response to the recent events at Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, Southern NCSY will screen the film, “Who Will Write our History” (a film about a group of spiritual resistors who risked their lives so that the truth about the Holocaust would survive, even if they did not) to students, faculty and teachers in Palm Beach Public Schools.

“I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee,” said Richard Latson, then Principal of Spanish River High School. Once Latson’s comments were made public, they created an uproar in the South Florida Jewish community – a community that has one of the highest Holocaust survivor populations in the world. In 1994, the Florida Legislature passed the Holocaust Education Bill. The law requires all school districts to incorporate lessons on the Holocaust as part of public school instruction.

“With the continued increase in anti-Semitism and the disconcerting growth of Holocaust denial, I’m forced to re-examine and expand our outreach teen programming”, revealed Todd Cohn, Executive Director of Southern NSCY.  “Through strategic collaboration within our community, we are fortunate to be able to help facilitate direct programming within our Palm Beach County schools.”

Southern NCSY first screened the film at the Norton Museum of Art to over 150 community leaders, teens, teachers, and community members.  Philanthropist Richard Hirsch sponsored the event. “I’ve been focused on arming our Jewish teens with the leadership skills they need to not only succeed, but to also strengthen their Jewish identity, through the Jewish Student Union“, explained Hirsch.  “But now I also see the increasing need to help educate all of our teens, regardless of their religious affiliation about the Holocaust.”

In direct response to the events at Spanish River High School, Southern NCSY has since offered to expand the screening to reach local high schools. Spearheading this initiative is Paul Gross, of The Gross Family Center for the Study of Antisemitism and the Holocaust.  Paul Gross and his daughter Lauren Gross run over a dozen public programs annually, in addition to the many initiatives they are working on within the Palm Beach County Public School District The District services over 200,000 students and over 14,000 teachers. “We are committed to supporting Florida’s Holocaust education mandate to ensure the children in our public schools gain a firm understanding of our history, heritage and the importance of human rights and dignity,” said Gross “In the words of the great Elie Weisel, ‘We have no right to deprive the future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. In the end it’s all about memory, it’s sources and magnitude, and of course it’s consequences’”.

One of the important programs of The Gross Family Center for the Study of Antisemitism and the Holocaust is the Holocaust Survivor Speaker series.  Starting in September, this program will bring Holocaust survivors to 22 high schools each year. It’s the first ever public school program of it’s kind.  They are also in the process of forming a Teacher’s Council on Holocaust Education and a Student’s Council on Holocaust Education. The Center’s programs all share the same primary goal, to educate people about the Holocaust.

Currently, Southern NCSY has a presence in Palm Beach County schools.  Their Jewish Student Union operates in 60 high schools across South Florida – including Spanish River High School and engages over 4,000 students in these schools.

“Who Will Write our History” depicts the events of November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, where a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. Now, for the first time, their story is told as a feature documentary. The film mixes the writings of the Oyneg Shabes archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage and stunning dramatizations to transport us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. They defied their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon – the truth – and risked everything so that their archive would survive the war, even if they did not. Nancy Spielberg and Ron Lauder are the Executive Producers as well as Roberta Grossman. Southern NCSY will offer an abbreviated version of the film.  There is also an educational module available.

For more information on NCSY, contact Deena Lurie, Director of Marketing & Communications at deena@ncsy.org or 561-445-3810.

To make a donation to Southern NCSY, contact Rabbi Ben Gonsher at gonsherb@ncsy.org

About NCSY

Mission:  NCSY is the premier organization dedicated to connect, inspire and empower Jewish teens and encourage passionate Judaism through Torah and Tradition.

Vision:  NCSY’s a national youth group where Jewish teens are encouraged to grow into leaders. We strive to create an environment that empowers teens to make informed and educated choices that further their commitment to passionate Judaism. We provide a range of regional and local educational programs. We believe in teaching through example, and our hand-picked advisors and staff model a diverse, passionate, open–minded and enthusiastic approach to Jewish life. NCSY enables each teen to fulfill his or her personal potential as a Jew, as a leader and as a valued community member.

For more information about Southern NCSY, visit:  www.southern.ncsy.org

 

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  1. Jett Rucker says:

    Schindler’s List is a mendacious calumny against Germans and Germany, that wrongly elevates (some/all) Jews to martyrdom in the eyes of those who swallow Spielberg’s historical falsities.
    Sheer propaganda – and VERY profitable to Spielberg, himself, of course, a Jew.

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