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VHM will feature TEI in its 20th year

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By Samuel Asher

Executive Director, Virginia Holocaust Museum

Virginia Holocaust Museum Executive Director Samuel Asher delivers remarks.

The mission of the Virginia Holocaust Museum is twofold. First, we are dedicated to preserving the history of the Holocaust and honoring its six Jewish million victims.

Second, through our education and outreach initiatives, we hope to inspire future generations of Virginians to fight prejudice and indifference so that such an atrocity never happens again.

The crown jewel of our education initiative is our Alexander Lebenstein Teacher Education Institute – more commonly known as TEI.

Now in its 20th year, the program assists educators with their understanding of the Holocaust and genocide with sessions focusing on historical background and pedagogy, which link to the Virginia Standards of Learning requirements.

TEI is offered in partnership with Longwood University and is funded through generous teacher sponsorships.

This year we were able to double the stipend we offer to teachers who complete all class requirements to encourage greater attendance.

And it is paying off! To date, we have a record number of educators signed up. The first workshop is in June and the second is in July. For more information or to register, please visit our website.

Now that Virginia is recognizing May as Jewish-American Heritage Month, we expect an increase in visitors to our Jewish-American Hall of Fame exhibit. The Virginia Holocaust Museum is proud to be the permanent home of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame exhibit.

Over 50 Jewish American men and women – who have made significant contributions in all fields of endeavor – have been inducted since 1969.

The large artistic plaques have been created by outstanding sculptors, many of whom have won the American Numismatic Society’s J. Sanford Saltus Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of the Medal and/or the American Numismatic Association’s Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic Sculpture.

As people gaze on the portraits of Albert Einstein, George Gershwin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Joseph Pulitzer, Dr. Jonas Salk, et al, it is hoped that visitors will reflect on what contributions to humanity might have been made by the six million Jews (and their descendants) whose lives were viciously taken in the Holocaust.

Samuel Asher with VHM Board Member David Greenberg during the special signing ceremony adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism into Virginia law.

New Exhibit

And last, but not least, on June 9th, our Featured Special Exhibit: Halt! Remembering the Holocaust, Artwork by G. Roy Levin will close and be replaced with a new exhibit titled: Memorial Without Witness. Memorial Without Witness features a collection of photographs taken by Dr. Sydnor documenting his experience visiting Auschwitz at the end of the Cold War.

In July 1987, Dr. Charles W. Sydnor Jr. accepted an invitation to speak in Frankfurt, Germany. His colleague, Professor Joachim Russek, suggested visiting the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum in Poland.

While there, he experienced a soon-to-be independent Poland and something unheard of to modern visitors – an almost empty memorial site.

A special note, the Museum is now open seven days a week once again. While our renovation working continues, please enter through the Choral Synagogue Auditorium doors near 21st and Cary Streets.

For more on the VHM, visit https://www.vaholocaust.org.