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Students and Teachers Honored at Greenberg Center Awards Ceremony
At its annual awards ceremony, the University’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies 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.
The ceremony, which took place on April 29 in Wilde Auditorium, continues the new initiatives in Genocide and Holocaust Education in the region announced during the visit of Rwandan President Paul Kagame to the University of Hartford in March.
"Every year, the Greenberg Center gives away thousands of dollars in scholarships, awards, prizes, and more. We rarely get a chance to collectively celebrate the accomplishments of our students at the University of Hartford and in the community, together with the generous donors who make so much of this possible," said Avinoam Patt, the Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the University. "The annual Greenberg Center Awards program gives us a chance to celebrate the work of our students and dedicated teachers in the community and to honor their accomplishments, their achievements, and their potential."
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 2013-14 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 winner were named; and six students received named summer Israel Study Abroad Scholarships from the Center. The Jerome Caplan Scholar, the Greenberg Center's highest academic award, was also named at this special ceremony.
Holocaust and Genocide Educator Awards
Margaret Domina of Coventry, R.I., was 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.
The recipients of this year’s Zola-Rubin Professional Development Grants were Mark Yanaway of Wamogo High School in Litchfield, Conn., for his project “Creating a Campaign of Tolerance,” and Colleen Simon of St. James School in Stratford, Conn., for her project, “Complicity and Beyond.” The Zola-Rubin Professional Development Grants are made possible by the generosity of 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
Also at the awards ceremony, the Greenberg Center announced scholarship awardees for Judaic Studies majors and minors for the 2013-14 academic year. Elaine Lampert and Nessa Melnick received the Millie and Irving Bercowetz Judaic Studies Scholarships; Kailee Shraiberg, Arieh Fried, and Isabella Safdie received the Beth S. Kaplan Scholarships; Joshua Gischner and Samantha Gordon received Judith P. Wolfson Memorial Scholarships; Douglas Bearak received the George J. Sherman and Lottie K. Sherman Scholarship; and Arieh Fried received a Jack and Tillie Bayer Scholarship. Adara Brookler, an elementary education and Judaic Studies major, received 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. The scholarships are 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 were also named. Rachel Rosenberg '13 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 '13 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, announced 15 winners from close to 75 submissions. Students conducted extensive family history research in answering the question “What Makes You an American Jew?”. Winners were selected from the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford, the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy of Greater Hartford, the Hebrew High School of New England, and the R.J. Kinsella Magnet School for Performing Arts.
As the climax of the evening, the newly created Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry Award was presented 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 named the Jerome Caplan Fellow, the Greenberg Center’s highest academic award.