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Whiz Kid: Zev Fogelman, High Schooler Fighting Prejudice

After a visit to the Nation's capital, a Brookline Student is ready to play his part in fighting prejudice.

Zev Fogelman, a Brookline High Junior, recently joined the Grosfeld Family National Youth Leadership Mission to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Fogelman was among 106 other student delegates who participated in the 14th annual trip. During the trip, he met with Holocause survivors and other students. 

The Anti-Defamation League, who sponsor the trip, describe it on their website: 

During the conference in Washington, D.C., delegates participate in ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute activities, which are designed to provide an overview of the nature of bigotry and prejudice and to develop a supportive group environment both within and between the various delegations. A centerpiece of the Mission is the tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Upon completing the tour, participants gather for extensive debriefing sessions and have the opportunity to meet with Holocaust survivors who share their stories of strength and survival. 

The following is a press release from the ADL: 

Under the self-proclaimed mantra, “If we can affect each other, we can and will affect the world,” a group of diverse teenagers are primed to make a positive difference in their communities after a four-day mission to our nation’s capital where they explored issues of prejudice and discrimination.

Zev Fogelman, a junior at Brookline High School, was among 106 student delegates to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) 14th annual Grosfeld Family National Youth Leadership Mission to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Students from across the country explored modern and historic examples of bigotry and genocide, and shared personal experiences with hatred and discrimination. The program strives to motivate students to become positive ambassadors for change in their schools and communities.

New England students from the following schools attended this year’s mission: Boston Community Leadership Academy, Stoneham High School, Brookline High School, Palmer High School, Rice Memorial High School, BFA St. Albans High School, Framingham High School, Hingham High School, Reading Memorial High School.

“For the rest of your life, you will not be the same. Whatever you are, wherever you are, whatever your background, your decision to say ‘Yes’ to this mission will change your lives,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director in addressing the group.

Mr. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, shared with the students his story of being saved from the Nazis by his Polish Catholic nanny, and reiterated the underlying message of the program.

“For me, the lesson of the Holocaust is not the ugliness but the beauty. The fact that good people stood up to say ‘No.’ Look how many victims have fallen to cyberbullying – it shows the power of words. Each one of you has the power to make a difference in your world.”  

Selected for their leadership qualities and demonstrated interest in issues of diversity, the students hailed from Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington, D.C and Palm Beach County, Florida.

The centerpiece of the mission is time spent at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where students learned about the persecution and atrocities of the Second World War, and examined contemporary issues of extremism, bigotry and genocide.

“Every day, we can always make a difference, it doesn’t need to be a Holocaust,” concentration camp survivor Nesse Godin told the group.

Other presenters included Dr. Leon Bass, a retired high school principal and U.S. army veteran who helped liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp; Maria Reyes of the Freedom Writers Institute; David Waren, ADL’s Director of Education; and Michael Lieberman, ADL Washington Counsel/Director of the Civil Rights Policy Planning Center.

During breakout sessions conducted by ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute facilitators, students shared personal experiences with bullying, hatred and discrimination, and discussed how the lessons of the Holocaust can be applied today and to their own lives.

The delegates attended the 17th Annual "ADL In Concert Against Hate" at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, featuring the National Symphony Orchestra, where they heard stories about heroes that stood up against or were the victims of hate crimes.

Founded in 1996 by ADL's Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest Regional Office, the Youth Leadership Mission became a national program in 1998, building on the success of previous programs in preparing students as role models against bigotry, prejudice and hate. It is generously sponsored by The Grosfeld Family Foundation.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

PHOTO INFO. Brookline High School junior Zev Fogelman was among a group of students from around the country to take part in the Anti-Defamation League Youth Leadership Mission.

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