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Friday, May 20, 2011

Discussing Bin Laden & Terrorism: Using JPEF’s Ethics and ‘Defiance’ Guide

Looking for resources to help discuss the recent death of Osama bin Laden with your students? JPEF's Ethics and 'Defiance' discussion guide contains useful critical thinking threads on responding to terrorism, wartime ethics, and Jewish perspectives on killing in self-defense and taking revenge.

Pages 4 and 7 of the guide include several quotes and perspectives — including President Obama on responding to terrorism and Al Qaeda — which highlight the relevance of the Jewish partisans' ethical dilemmas with we see every day in the headlines. Here are a few excerpts:

"…Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history…" — President Obama

"Evil only recognizes stronger evil." — Jewish partisan Simon Trakinski

"… Only by repaying evil with good do we defeat it." — Judea Pearl (father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl)

For complete quotes with context and discussion questions, download the Ethics and 'Defiance' guide at And please contact us to let us know what your students come up with in response.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Youth Writing Contest - last call for entries Deadline for essays is May 17th

Reflections from the 2010 contest winner Loren Miller:

When I was in eighth grade, we watched the miniseries “Uprising” in class. I had always heard about the Holocaust survivors, but it was first at this point in time that I truly appreciated the role of the partisans—the fighters. Watching with rapt attention as Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto fought the Nazis until the bitter end, I knew I had to learn more about these people, not just to recognize pure bravery but also to make evil less terrifying. Knowing that evil could be countered, that resistance was possible, that indifference was simply unacceptable, I felt empowered.

By participating in the JPEF Youth Writing Contest, I had the chance to reflect once again on the power of defiance, exploring this theme through the eyes of partisan Eugenio Gentili-Tedeschi. As far as society has come in the years since World War II, we still have a long way to go in combating the hatred and prejudice that is unfortunately so prevalent. This contest was an excellent opportunity for me to reaffirm my goals of fighting modern-day bigotry in a creative and meaningful way.

Educators and Administrators: there is still time to get your students to enter our 2011 Youth Writing Contest.

Students: your voices can be heard, your words can be powerful. Enter our 2011 Youth Writing Contest - you may win an iPod and you will help shape your vision of the past, the present and the future.

Submissions to the 2011 Youth Writing Contest are due May 17th. For more information, including entry rules and guidelines, please visit our contest page at

Monday, May 2, 2011

Holocaust Remembrance Day – Alameda County

Yom HaShoah v'HaGevurah - The Day of the Holocaust and Resistance

Community-Wide Observance

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

7:45 PM

Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit Street, Oakland

During World War II, between 20,000 and 30,000 Jews escaped the ghettos and camps to create or join resistance groups. Our speakers this evening will be Murray Gordon and Henry Ramek, two survivors who were part of the resistance during the Holocaust. Their voices will remind us never to forget.

To learn more about Murray Gordon and other Jewish partisans, read the article titled “Hidden heroes Filmmaker puts spotlight on Jewish partisans who fought Nazis

Co-sponsors: Bay Area Midrasha, Beth Jacob Congregation, B'nai B'rith Lodge 252, CJLL, Israel Center, JCC of the East Bay, JCRC of the East Bay, Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay, Jewish Family & Children's Services of the East Bay, Jewish Federation of the East Bay, Jewish Partisan Education Foundation, Oakland Hebrew Day School, Tehiyah Day School, Temple Beth Abraham, Temple Beth Sholom, and Temple Sinai.