The Olga Lengyel Institute (TOLI) provides professional development seminars for educators in the US and abroad that link the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides to current world events, thereby working with teachers to promote a human rights and social justice agenda in their classrooms. For further information, please visit .
The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights

TOLI Launches 2019 With Seminars in Montana, Mississippi, New Mexico
and NYC!
TOLI’S 2019 programs for teachers got underway in June with seminars in Montana, Mississippi and New Mexico. Our flagship seminar in NYC, bringing educators from throughout the US, is now taking place. These are the first of ten TOLI seminars on Holocaust education in the US and eight in Europe.
Worlds Apart But Not Strangers
Billings, Montana
Worlds Apart But Not Strangers brought together 25 teachers from Montana and Idaho to learn about the Holocaust and mass persecution of Native Americans. The program included visits to North Cheyenne reservation, tribal sacred grounds (see photo above), and the Bighorn battlefield in southern Montana. The group also visited the Beth Aaron Synagogue and received an overview of Judaism from Rabbi Uriarte. Educators spent many intensive hours in collaboration with peers and focused on writing to absorb and transmit the lessons of the Holocaust to their students.

Ileah Bodily, a middle school teacher from Rigby, Idaho: “I intend to teach more about the land we live on, the genocide of Native Americans." She added, “The TOLI program has given me so many tools how to teach religious conflict and cultures.” Referring to the attacks on synagogues in the US she added, “The students want to know 'why' these terrible events happened. This seminar gives us the tools to lead conversation.”

Brett Nichols, a history teacher from Billings, and another participant in the program, “This seminar helps build a better world, a better human being. What we want from a program like this is to understand humanity and pass it along to our students”
Reclaiming Our Humanity
Jackson, Mississippi
In Jackson, MS, 20 teachers joined in an effort to restore, repair, and reclaim humanity at the second annual TOLI seminar, Reclaiming Our Humanity: Lessons of the Holocaust for Today. Teachers made connections between the anti-Jewish laws of Nazi Germany and the oppressive Jim Crow laws that were enforced in the Southern United States during the same time period.

The seminar drew educators from Mississippi, as well as North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Maryland.

Mississippi Civil Rights veterans Hollis Watkins, MacArthur Cotton, and Flonzie Brown Wright shared their compelling accounts of fighting for equality then and now. Bruce Klasner of the local Jewish community gave a moving narrative of his parents, who were both Holocaust survivors. 
"Mississippi needs TOLI because our students deserve awareness," said Kalea White of the Rankin County School District.

Sharon Miles performed her one-person play, Let It Shine: A Visit with Fannie Lou Hamer, and participants were privileged to have an intimate look into the life of the esteemed Civil Rights leader.

On Friday, participants were welcomed by Beth Israel Congregation where Rabbi Dreffin gave us insight into Jewish life before and after the Holocaust. After touring Beth Israel, participants partook in a traditional Shabbat dinner.
The educators also met at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum for a writing marathon where Jo Ivester joined us through a video conference to explain the concept of Tikkun Olam, the Jewish Teaching to do good in the world, and to share her life story of growing up Jewish in Mound Bayou, MS.

“I could not have hoped for a better group of educators to come together to share Olga’s Mississippi table. This week we have laughed, cried, sang, danced, broken bread, hugged, fussed, and hugged again—we have forged a bond, we have Reclaimed Our Humanity. #neveragain is Mississippi Strong.” ~Tracei Willis, co-leader.
Teaching The Holocaust for
Social Justice
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Educators from New Mexico are currently in Albuquerque for the annual TOLI seminar, Teaching the Holocaust for Social Justice. Participating educators learn about the Holocaust and apply its lessons to confront intolerance and persecution. Another focus is on the diverse peoples of New Mexico, exploring questions related to the history of New Mexico and the importance of social justice.

Maestro Murry Sidlin spoke about Rafael Schaechter and power of music to restore the humanity of the prisoners at Terezin, the Nazi concentration camp: “Harmony in some form can still exist even in the face of adversity.”

Participants heard the testimony of a concentration camp liberator: Dr. Mary Pratt, one of our supporters, shared the moving stroy of her husband, Dr. Sid Franklin, an Army doctor who was at the liberation of Buchenwald. Albuquerque local resident and Holocaust survivor, Andy Holton, also shared his story of being a hidden child during WWII. Educators enjoyed an evening performance by the Q Tones, the New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus. Many intensive hours were spent in writing workshops and sharing strategy that can be used in the classroom.
National TOLI Seminar
Opens In NYC
Twenty-five educators from across the US gathered in NY at the Memorial Library of TOLI this week for the 14th annual national seminar organized by TOLI. The program is an 11-day seminar during which educators use writing and dialogue to reflect on the challenges of teaching the Holocaust and other genocides. Led by Senior Program Director, US Programs, Sondra Perl and Associate Director, US Programs, Jennifer Lemberg, the agenda also includes a visit to the Museum of Jewish Heritage, testimony from Holocaust survivors, interactive workshops sharing ideas and strategies, and a Shabbat dinner at the Memorial Library.

Please support TOLI programs, enabling thousands of teachers in the US and Europe to educate their students about the Holocaust and against hate and intolerance.
Did You Know You Can Donate to TOLI Through Donor Advised Funds?
A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a type of giving program that allows you to combine the most favorable tax benefits with the flexibility to support your favorite charities. DAF Direct enables you to recommend grants to The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI).