Greenberg Center to present 40 student and teacher awards

Special to the Ledger

WEST HARTFORD – The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies of the University of Hartford will present awards and distribute more than $30,000 in scholarships to students and teachers at a reception to be held on Monday, April 29, 7 p.m. in the university’s Wilde Auditorium.

The awards recognize teachers and students for 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 continues the new initiatives in genocide and Holocaust education in the region announced with the visit of the president of Rwanda at the University of Hartford.

Three middle school and high school teachers will receive this year’s Holocaust and Genocide Educators Awards; 12 scholarships for Judaic studies will be given to majors and minors for the 2013-2014 academic year; 15 students from area elementary, middle, and high schools will receive essay contest awards in American Jewish history; one University of Hartford Fishman Scholar in American Jewish history and one Fishman Jewish Communal Leadership Award will be named, and six students will receive Israel Study Abroad Scholarships. The Jerome Caplan Scholar – the Center’s highest academic award – will also be named.

The new exhibition “Visions of Israel: The Art and Illustrations of Chaim Gross” in will be on open for viewing in the Singer Family Gallery of the Museum of Jewish Civilization.

The Holocaust and Genocide Educator Awards

Established by David Chase, the Korzenik Memorial Holocaust Award recognizes the work of a middle or high school teacher for the innovative teaching of the Holocaust. Established by Joseph Zola and Matthew Rubin and their families, the Zola Award and professional grants support an award for an established middle or high school curriculum on the Holocaust and genocide or for the development of a new curriculum for teaching about the Holocaust and genocide. The University of Hartford also helps support an annual day-long workshop on the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide which attracts hundreds of students and teachers. This year, three awardees have been selected and are invited to teach at the next Holocaust and Genocide Educator Workshop at the University of Hartford, which will be held in October. Scholarships for the conference, which awards a CEU certificate, are also given by the Greenberg Center.

The 2013 Korzenik Memorial Holocaust Educator Award is presented to Margaret Domina of Coventry, R.I. for her project, “Anne Frank: Her Legacy Lives On.” An eighth grade teacher at Thompson Middle School in North Grosvernordale, Domina developed a six-week curriculum around the play The Diary of Anne Frank that teaches students tolerance, diversity, and common core standards through this key text.

The 2013 Zola-Rubin Professional Development Grants are presented to Mark Yanaway of Wamogo High School in Litchfield, for his project “Creating a Campaign of Tolerance,” and Colleen Simon of St. James School in Stratford, for her project “Complicity and Beyond.”

The Greenberg Center Academic Awards

The Greenberg Center cultivates leadership in the classroom and this year had four students, Elissa Katz, Josh Gischner, Emily Galica, and Kailee Shraiberg present research on their work in Israel

at the university’s Undergraduate Research Colloquium on April 14.

The Greenberg Center scholarship awardees for its majors and minors for the 2013-2014 academic year:

Millie and Irving Bercowets Judaic Studies Scholarships are presented to Elaine Lampert and Nessa Melnick.

Beth S. Kaplan Scholarships are presented to Kailee Shraiberg, Arieh Fried, Daniel Fortine and Isabella Safdie.

Judith P. Wolfson Memorial Scholarships are presented to students Joshua Gischner and Samantha Gordon.

George J. Sherman and Lottie K. Sherman Scholarship is presented to Douglas Bearak.

Jack and Tillie Bayer Scholarship is presented to Arieh Fried.

The Louis and Martha Silver Scholarship is presented to Adara Brookler.

Summer Israel Study Abroad scholarships will also be 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 help students to study on the Greenberg Center’s archaeology and language programs in Israel every summer.

Two Fishman Fellows in American Jewish History and Jewish Communal Leadership at the University of Hartford will also be named for 2013. Rachel Rosenberg (‘13) will be recognized for her work in Jewish communal leadership as an intern at the Jewish Federation Association of CT (JFACT), and Elissa Katz (‘13) will be 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, which this year focused on the theme: “What Makes You an American Jew?” selected 15 winners from a pool of close to 75 submissions from students in grades 2 through high school. Winners were selected from all grade levels. The winning students were:

From Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford: Aaron Rotter, Victoria Boustani, Maia Chameides, Ruth Nawy, Ilana Kranc, Gabrielle Gershon, Sydney Weiser.

From the Bess & Paul Hebrew Academy: Yonatan Cohen, Moshe Loew, Hannah Gitman, Tamar Schreiber, Meira Goldfischer.

In addition, two ninth graders – Sophia Katz of the Hebrew High School of New England and Esther Schlossberg of the Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts – were also named Fishman Family Award winners.

As the climax of the evening, the first Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry Award will be presented to Elliot Levine, a graduating senior in Judaic studies at the

Elliot Levine, winner of the first Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry Award

Elliot Levine, winner of the first Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry Award

University of Hartford, and to 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. The winning poem is included below.

Following the poetry prizes, Joshua Gischner, a Judaic Studies and History major and gender studies minor and Honors student at the University, will be named the Jerome Caplan Fellow, the Greenberg Center’s highest academic award.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information contact the Greenberg Center at (860) 768-4964.­


It’s Dark Out Here

By Elliot Levine



Lately I’ve felt so lost in labyrinths of voices,

I don’t know which one is yours anymore.


“Don’t walk in front of me I may not follow.”


All I can remember is summer camp.


Where the grass stained nights were muggy and the stars

reminded us that getting laid wasn’t all there is to life.


It was where we spoke of our childhood like soft sunsets

g­­­ently lulling the past day to sleep.

And of our future like

the paintings everyone likes, but no-one understands.


“Don’t walk behind me I may not lead”


I remember hugging you between our laced arms

while we ambled to the campfire.

“Just walk beside me and be my friend”


We watched embers glow hot like magic

and fill our noses with the smell of sweet warm wood. 
Ancient songs escaped our lips like glimmering ashes

jumping from fire, they burned their way to heaven.


“And together we will walk in the land of Hashem.”

Elliot Levine, a graduating senior at the University of Hartford, is recipient of the first Muriel Hoff American Jewish Poetry Award for his poem “It’s Dark Out Here.”

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