Frequently Asked Questions about the Center for Holocaust and Tolerance Education
Will the Center be called the Center for Holocaust and Tolerance Education?
No, this is just a working title for now.
Will the content be limited to the Holocaust?
This is an area currently under consideration. Recognizing that the Holocaust must be taught with sensitivity and accuracy, it must also be meaningful and relevant to today’s students, many of whom might never meet an eyewitness. Content could include primary source documentation and eyewitness testimony about the Holocaust, as well as materials to help teachers make connections and spark conversations about how and why this history is relevant to more current issues of tolerance, democracy, and justice.
We live in a society with access to extensive resources—locally, regionally and internationally—dedicated to Holocaust education. The quantity and variety can be overwhelming, and educators and community members too often don’t find the material best suited to their specific needs. The common core curriculum used in our local public schools emphasizes critical thinking and citizenship, and the lessons of the Holocaust provide a valuable case study in human behavior and empathy—but teachers need the right tools and training to address these subjects with confidence. Eyewitnesses to the Holocaust are aging quickly, and the opportunity to preserve their stories for future generations to access is dwindling.
Why the Library?
The Levine-Sklut Judaic Library is uniquely situated to serve as a clearinghouse, repository, and provider of Holocaust resources and programs. As an established library embedded in the Jewish community in North Carolina’s largest city, the Levine Sklut Judaic Library and Resource Center maintains connections and has existing collaborations throughout the state with a wide network of educators, scholars, survivors and speakers. The Library maintains a broad collection, and understands and respect that there are many ways to teach the Holocaust. A strength and central role of any Library is to connect patrons with the right resources for their situations, and the Center for Holocaust and Tolerance Education would be an extension of this role.
What is the process for this exploratory phase?
A nine- to twelve-month timeline has been established, incorporating three distinct steps: A community needs assessment; a study of best practices around the nation; and a recommended direction for moving forward. The process will include conversations and site visits with other Centers around the country, in order to understand the spectrum of services available and how the best practices might be adapted to best suit this community. Focus groups, community conversations and information sessions will also be a part of the process to engage and inform the general public. An advisory council of regional subject matter experts will guide and review progress throughout the process.
Who is on the Task Force?
The Library Board Task Force is comprised of the Library’s executive director, Talli Dippold, and two Library board members, Jackie Fishman and Melanie Baron. Jackie has over thirty years’ experience teaching Holocaust studies through the lens of literature, is part of the Facing History and Ourselves leadership training team, and has dedicated her career to addressing issues of inclusion, ethical decision-making and participatory democracy. Melanie has spent most of her career planning and developing informal educational environments like libraries and museums, from the strategic and master planning phases through opening. She was part of the team that opened ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center, a partnership between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.
What will be the outcome of the Exploratory Commission’s efforts?
The Task Force will produce a written report with recommendations based on the best practices gleaned from the research and outline a vision for a Center for Holocaust and Tolerance Education to serve and strengthen Holocaust education efforts in our community.
When might the Center open?
This depends on the scale of what is recommended. Some aspects of the proposed Center’s services are already in place. The Levine-Sklut Judaic Library already has an extensive collection of available materials, and can refer patrons to other agencies and programs based on their particular needs. The Library also offers a limited number of programs and teacher training workshops throughout the year. The scope and scale of these services will expand with the creation of the Center, but the groundwork is already in place.
What will become of the Levine-Sklut Judaic Library?
The services of the Library will remain unchanged, including its very popular children’s programming, films, archives and teaching collection. The Center for Holocaust and Tolerance Education would be an expansion of the Library’s services.
I want to know more! Who can I contact?
Please contact Talli Dippold, Executive Director of the Levine-Sklut Judaic Library at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions or would like to become involved as a volunteer. We look forward to working together on this exciting initiative.