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Holocaust Education & Resource Center of Rhode Island H. Alan and Ellie Frank Fund
By Jean Cohoon / March 24, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
Staff and volunteers for the Holocaust Education & Resource Center of Rhode Island work to educate the public, especially school children, about the Holocaust. But their message extends beyond the Holocaust to encourage others to support their efforts “to reduce prejudice and the injustice of bigotry against all minorities.”

“A lot of the students we see are first generation Americans. Many of their parents came here from dangerous places,” notes May-Ronny Zeidman, executive director of the Center, in explaining how the message resonates with young audiences.

May-Ronny explains the Center’s three primary activities, beginning with education. Center staff and volunteers educate both teachers on how best to teach about the Holocaust and Rhode Island students on the facts of the Holocaust. Student programs feature Holocaust survivors or their children telling personal stories.

The second activity, the Holocaust through the Arts Program, educates students and educators through movies, plays, dance, theatre, and art exhibits, while the third activity, an annual Art and Writing Contest, provides a creative outlet for middle and high school students to express their thoughts and feelings about what they learned about the Holocaust. It culminates in an awards ceremony/ice cream party.

The Center began as a committee of the Jewish Community Center. Holocaust survivors and other interested persons later decided there should be an independent organization to preserve their stories, and the forerunner to the Center, the Rhode Island Holocaust Museum, opened its doors in 1988.

“Ellie (Frank) served on the committee of the Jewish Community Center…and she just never left. She and Selma (Stanzler) became the dynamic duo behind the Center,” May-Ronny explains. Ellie and her husband, Bud, provided the Center with the funds to establish this endowment.

May-Ronny shares that, after hearing a presentation on organization endowment at the Foundation, “I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to find the funds that would allow us to be part of the Rhode Island Foundation. I want to leave the Center better than I found it, and I think one of my best options for doing that is through the Rhode Island Foundation.”
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