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JFCS Helps Teachers to Shape California’s Future

“The experience I gained will be forever etched in my heart. This inspires me to teach my students about the Holocaust.”

Teacher Participant

On Sunday, January 28, California educators from across the state convened at the California Teachers Collaborative for Holocaust and Genocide Education’s Winter Institute, led by the JFCS Holocaust Center and hosted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute.

Senator Henry Stern addresses teachers from across the state at the California Teachers Collaborative Winter Institute in Southern California.

A Powerful Convergence of Dedicated Educators

The teachers—representing every region in California—had the opportunity to tour the acclaimed Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away. exhibition, participate in a teacher training facilitated by Collaborative partner Echoes and Reflections, and collaborate on resources and strategies to effectively teach these sensitive topics in their classrooms.

One participant commented, “This opportunity to collaborate with other teachers to help students really understand the Holocaust and genocide is necessary for our students to become honest stewards of society.”

A teacher participant views an exhibit in the Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away. exhibition.

Senator Henry Stern’s Remarks Resonate

Senator Henry Stern meets with educators at the California Teachers Collaborative Winter Institute

State Senator Henry Stern of the 27th District and Co-Chair of the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education provided the closing keynote, emphasizing the vital role of teachers in educating today’s students to understand complex and problematic history, to have difficult conversations, and stand up against all forms of hate. “We are shaping the future of California together,” he said. “The goal is every single teacher, and you’re the pioneers.”

A teacher underscored Stern’s view of the importance of understanding history and commented on the universality of lessons on the Holocaust – “I do not serve a Jewish population, but the issues of Holocaust education would resonate with all. Everyone has a story.” 

Teachers at the Winter Institute review reflections from the Auschwitz exhibit that they then used to prototype a classroom activity.

About the California Teachers Collaborative for Holocaust and Genocide Education

The California Teachers Collaborative serves as a catalyst for change in the way teachers approach Holocaust and genocide education.

Established by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) Holocaust Center in 2021, the Collaborative unites the State’s leading Holocaust and genocide educational institutions and community leaders to build a network of educators across California who inspire empathy and moral courage in the next generations of students and actively work to counteract hate through powerful Holocaust and genocide education.

The California Teachers Collaborative will host its second, annual Summer Institute on Holocaust and Genocide Education June 23-26 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Members of the California Teachers Collaborative for Holocaust and Genocide Education

  • Avenues for Change: Holocaust and Genocide Education
  • Cambodian Genocide Resource Center
  • Central Valley Holocaust Educators’ Network (CVHEN)
  • Echoes and Reflections: Anti-Defamation League
  • Facing History and Ourselves
  • The Genocide Education Project: Armenian Genocide Education
  • Holocaust Museum LA
  • Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center
  • Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation
  • Museum of Tolerance
  • Redbud Resource Group: Indigenous History and Education
  • TWIGE Project: Teaching about the Genocides in Rwanda and Guatemala
  • USC Shoah Foundation for Visual History and Education
  • Uyghur Genocide Online Resource Center

To learn more about the work of the California Teachers Collaborative, sign up for our mailing list.

Photos by Tamara Leigh Photography