In her role as assistant director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Sister Judith Kreipe has worked extensively with young people who have been bullied. She knows the importance of addressing this problem before it escalates.
This is why Sister Kreipe is so proud that the Archdiocese has collaborated with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia to present the annual Youth Symposium on the Holocaust. "It is critical for young people, surrounded by their peers and supported by caring adults, to learn how to recognize incidents of racial, religious and ethnic intimidation and stand up to these 'bulliers,' " she explained.
Sister Kreipe also takes pride in the large numbers of Archdiocesan high school students who have participated in the program, now marking its 35th year, which is open to public, private and parochial school students in grades nine through 12. This year's symposium will be presented:
March 6 — St. Joseph's University, N. 56th St., at Overbrook Ave., Philadelphia;
March 9 — La Salle University, Union Building, 20th St. and Olney Ave., Philadelphia;
March 13 — West Chester University, Main Hall in West Chester; and
March 15 — Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Rd., Elkins Park.
All programs take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and include lunch. Due to generous subsidies, registration is just $4 per person.
Each program includes an introductory session with the screening of Children Remember the Holocaust — a film relating stories of children who survived the genocide. Highlights also include small group discussions with Holocaust survivors, which Sister Kreipe considers "particularly inspiring and meaningful."
Students will also hear from a keynote presenter with a unique Holocaust-era experience to share. Past presenters have included an African-American veteran of World War II who related his personal experiences with racism and prejudice and also spoke about witnessing the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, and a Belgian Catholic woman who joined the resistance movement at age 16.
There will also be a hands-on training for teachers with the "Echoes and Reflections" curriculum that prepares educators to teach the complex issues of the Holocaust to today's students. All new teachers will receive a free copy of the curriculum, developed by the Anti-Defamation League, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute and Yad Vashem.
In addition to the Archdiocese, symposium sponsors include: the Anti-Defamation League; the Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors; Blank Rome LLP; Canada Dry Delaware Valley; the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors Association; the Julius and Ray Charlestein Foundation; the Dr. Boris and Minna Anolik Endowment Fund for Holocaust Education; the Friends Council on Education; Gratz College; the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center; La Salle University; the Memorial Committee for the Six Million Jewish Martyrs of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia; the National Council of Jewish Women; Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel; the School District of Philadelphia-Division of Social Studies Education; St. Joseph's University's Jewish-Catholic Institute; and West Chester University.
Space is limited. To register, call Beth Razin at 215-832-0536 or email [email protected]g.