44 The QUEE NS Courier • DECEMBER 10, 2015 for breaking news visit www.qns.com REMEMBERING THE FUTURE WHAT TO DO WITH GRANDMA AND GRANDPA? by ARTHUR FLUG Leora Klein had a problem. Having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997, with a degree in English literature and theater arts, she moved to the west coast to begin an acting career. While waiting to be offered a role, Leora worked as a volunteer at the Museum of Tolerance leading students through the story of the Holocaust. Both sets of her grandparents were Holocaust survivors and shared parts of their stories with her. “History came alive,” she explained. “I was not telling these groups a once-upon-a-time story, but one that was real and one in which I knew the characters.” The entertainment industry did not offer her a job and much to our benefit, Leora returned to New York. Here she continued her studies and worked as a volunteer with the Young Leadership of Yad Vashem office an organization dedicated to Holocaust education. In 2004, she attended a chance meeting of a dozen young men and women joined together by the fact that each of them had grandparents who were Holocaust survivors. As inheritors of these family experiences, they felt a need to be more than a person entrusted with these rich, and at times horrific, memories. It was out of this realization that 3GNY; Third Generation New York was formed. The good intentions were there. We don’t want our grandparents to be forgotten. We want to tell their stories to others. Who should we approach to gain access to schools and other educational settings? What will we tell these groups? And, most important of all, what value can we give to our grandparents’ stories? It was because of the inherent skills in communications, social involvement, organization building and fundraising possessed by this very talented founding group that a plan was developed that produced WEDU, We Educate. Today, WEDU has trained over 150 of these unique grandchildren in researching their family stories and organizing them into effective presentations. Leora describes her first experience in teaching a lesson as “a brutal first landing.” It was very difficult, but it prepared her for her next presentation. Today WEDU has and continues to relate their stories to hundreds of students in schools throughout the metropolitan area. While there was a great sense of pride in Leora’s telling of the impact of 3GNY, there was also a tinge of sadness that permeated her story. The survivors are rapidly disappearing and many of the horrors she relates to her students from the 1930s and 1940s are reappearing. “Look at what is happening in France, Hungary, Austria and Russia. It’s 1938 all over again!” As we ended the interview, Leora asked me a question. “I’m a mom now. What will my children do with these stories?” Class in session for assemblywoman in Flushing Photo courtesy of Assemblywoman Nily Rozic Assemblywoman Nily Rozic recently visited P.S. 120 to meet with Principal Robert Marino. She looked at some of the students’ work and encouraged them to keep being active in their school community. JEFFERSON DEMS CELEBRATE HOLIDAYS IN STYLE Photo courtesy of Jefferson Democratic Club Borough President Melinda Katz, Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein, City Councilman Paul Vallone and Democratic District Leader Carol Gresser were among the honored guests the Jefferson Democratic Club’s 105th annual holiday extravaganza. The celebration took place on Dec. 2 at the Clearview Park Golf Course Clubhouse. Among those pictured is club president David Fischer.
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