We are pleased to announce that 7,000 students will participate in a powerful education program this fall. Thanks to generous donors, The Children of Willesden Lane Bay Area BIG READ will be offered to Northern California middle and high school teachers and their students. This unique program teaches youth about the Holocaust, the importance of standing up against bigotry and hatred, and the transformative nature of art. The curriculum culminates in an award winning theatrical production at Herbst Theatre by concert pianist and acclaimed storyteller Mona Golabek about how the power of music helped one young woman survive the Holocaust as a refugee. The production has been making its way around the world with spectacular reviews.
JFCS Holocaust Center is presenting this rich educational experience in collaboration with the Hold On To Your Music Foundation, Facing History and Ourselves, the San Francisco Unified School District, and other schools throughout Northern California. “We are proud to bring The Children of Willesden Lane to the Bay Area and so thankful that our donors have made this possible,” says Joyce Newstat, Chair of the Council of Children of Survivors at the JFCS Holocaust Center.
The performance is based on the book, The Children of Willesden Lane, written by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen, which tells the true story of Ms. Golabek’s mother, Lisa Jura, a 14 year old musical prodigy in Vienna who dreamed of becoming a concert pianist. Her dreams were interrupted when Nazi Germany annexed Austria and her parents were forced to make the difficult decision to send her to London with the Kindertransport.
This year long initiative recently launched at JFCS Holocaust Center’s annual Day of Learning which is a program of the Preisler Shorenstein Institute for Holocaust Education. Mona Golabek gave a sneak peek performance to more than 600 students and teachers who attended the Day of Learning conference. One tenth grade student from San Francisco said, “Mona was truly spectacular. Music is a great way to communicate this story.”
The universality of this story reaches across all geographic, religious, and ethnic divides and speaks powerfully to our students today. Through classroom curriculum, reading the book, and attending a live performance of The Children of Willesden Lane, Northern California students will experience history, music, theater, and a deeper understanding of acceptance and respect.
7,000 students will see performances which will run twice daily during the week of November 6 – 10, 2016 in San Francisco, coinciding with the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Transportation for students and teachers will be provided, and all students will receive a book as part of the multi-disciplinary curriculum.
“Our deep commitment to educate about the Holocaust as well as the patterns of genocide inspires students to find moral courage to become strong advocates against discrimination, hatred, and antisemitism,” says Lydia Shorenstein, Founder of the Preisler Shorenstein Institute.
The Bay Area BIG READ is made possible through the generosity of the Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, Estate of Gerald Rosenstein, Valli Benesch and Bob Tandler, Riva and David Berelson, Lynn Bunim, Suzanne and Elliott Felson, Anita Friedman and Igor Tartakovsky, Mona Golabek, Adean and Ben Golub, Jacqueline Neuwirth and Stephen Swire, Joyce Newstat and Susan Lowenberg, Karen Pell and Heather Lupa, Lydia Shorenstein, Laura Talmus and Ace Smith.
To contribute or for more information, please call Barbara Farber at 415-449-3858 or email: BarbaraF@jfcs.org.