Friday, February 26, 2010

Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers' Program

On Valentine's Day weekend, Becky and I traveled through the snow drifts to Washington, DC for the semi-annual National Alumni Conference - Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers' Program. Ten years ago I traveled to Poland and Israel with 40 other wonderful teachers from all over the United States and Holocaust survivor and author, Vladka Meed, to study the Holocaust at the actual sites in Poland and at Yad Vashem, center for Holocaust studies in Israel. Every other year, we have a reunion of all the teachers who are graduates of the program and Becky has gone with me for each reunion except for one. It's something we really look forward to attending together.
The reunion is held at the beautiful Mayflower Hotel. Can you believe it? For the opening reception Becky and I both brought black and teal outfits to wear. So often we show up either in the same colors or the same sweater or shirt in a different color. Great minds think alike! In spite of her preggie belly, there were folks who asked her what grade she was in, in school!
Because the theme of the conference was "resistance," many of the sessions focused on using the film Defiance, starring Daniel Craig, as one of the Bielski brothers. Sam Bloch, pictured below, joined the Bielski Brigade when he was seventeen at the time. He gave a moving testimonial about his involvement in the Jewish partisan group that saved so many Jews. If you have not seen this movie, you should. It's an amazing story.
We also heard the behind the scenes stories of the making of the movie by the screenwriter himself! What a treat!
For about twelve years I have served on the Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Council. Many of our council members have also gone on the trip and are graduates of the program. They are an awesome group of people.
This was the first reunion that Vladka missed because she is so frail. We are losing our Holocaust survivors and our WW II liberators every day. Participating in Vladka's program in 2000 was a life changing experience for me. It impacted me in so many ways and made me a better teacher. If you are a teacher reading this blog or know someone who teaches, I would love to provide information about this program. Just shoot me an email. To Vladka: "You were missed and in our hearts. We love you!"

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Yesterday we held our annual Love Crop to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Thirty-two women gathered at Central Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg to scrapbook and make other crafts like jewelry. The weather cooperated - no snow! From 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, we worked on a variety of projects, shopped at the yard sale tables full of goodies, and enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by Martha Mongold. Thanks Martha for the yummy baked potato bar. Brenda Geiman's homemade iced tea and pink lemonade gave us a summertime feeling!
Everyone enjoys seeing what other scrapbookers are making to get new ideas.
Shopping at the yard sale was fun. There were so many items to choose from. Thank you to those who donated items for sale. 100% of the proceeds benefits the JDRF!
One of the first to arrive, Martha gets right to work! Scrapbookers don't waste a minute of scrapbooking time!
What a wonderful group of ladies! Some traveled from as far away as West Virginia! Notice the gentleman in the above photo. He brought his lovely wife Gloria and spent some time with us working on his computer before heading out to find a hotel. Gloria and her daughter Donna were the first of eight to register for our fall crop to be held October 23rd.
Thanks to everyone who made this event such a success. We raised $920.00 which will be sent to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on Monday. Because of the generosity of area businesses, the church, and volunteers, we had no expenses for this event. Every penny raised will go to JDRF. You can visit the website to read about the progress being made to find a cure as well as less invasive treatments so that hopefully children afflicted with this disease may either be cured and/or no longer have to endure a lifetime of needles. Our next Crop For A Cure will be held October 23rd!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I know some folks are grumbling (my husband, for one) about the white stuff, but snows like this remind me of my childhood. I remember huge snowstorms when we would be snowed in for days and played board games, made snowmen and snow tunnels, and drank hot chocolate with cinnamon/sugar toast. I remember snuggled in a blanket reading book after book while the storm raged outside. Those were the days! It's been five years since we have had a blizzard and this storm is making up for lost time. Last night Jim went out at 10:00 pm and ran the snowblower and shoveled the walks. When he attempted to get the snowblower out this morning the walk was totally drifted in and he had to shovel BEFORE getting the snowblower going!
Finally! You can see how high the snow is as he tunnels through it! And, it is still snowing, blowing, and swirling!

Whew! He finally made it through the tunnel! Now it's time to tackle the driveway. I know you are probably wondering what I was doing. Besides taking pictures, I shoveled the walkway and front porch. The walkway was over two feet high in some places so I got a bit of a workout!
Jim means business! Look at him go! This man is on a mission. Just so you know, he hates snow and would move south without looking back! (That'll never happen!)
From all the weather forecasts, it doesn't look like the snow will end until sometime later tonight and then the winds are supposed to kick in - oh joy! More drifting, blowing, swirling snow. Poor Jim! A snowblower's work is never done! Sigh! Me? I will probably be snuggled up with a good book or digi-scrapping. Maybe I should make Jimbo some hot chocolate and cinnamon/sugar toast. What do ya think? Yeah- that would be the right thing to do!