The Antisemitism, Hate and Social Responsibility Conference

Pittsburgh, PA
Sunday November 10, 2019

In the year since the shooting at Congregation Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, PA, American Jews have had to grapple with new manifestations of Antisemitism, and what it means to be a Jew in America today. On November 10, Cleveland Jewish teens are invited to come together for a day long trip to Pittsburgh PA to attend a conference on Antisemitism, Hate, and Social Responsibility that will provide them with a space to explore these topics in partnership with renowned speakers and scholars, as well as their peers. Organized by Classrooms Without Borders, this conference is an opportunity for high school students to explore modern Antisemitism, to pay tribute to those who lost their lives at Tree of Life, and to consider what it means to be a Jewish leader in Cleveland, and on their future college campuses.

Sponsored by The William and Anita Heller Family Jewish Continuity Fund

Day Itinerary

7:00 AM – Breakfast at @akiva office (26500 Shaker Blvd. Beachwood OH)

7:30 – Departure to Pittsburgh (the address above)

10:00 – Arrive at Pittsburgh JCC

10:15 – “I was there…” – A conversation with *Shannon Foley Martinez, a former violent white supremacist.

11:45 – Brunch

12:45 PM – “My congregation was a targeted by a hate crime… and the world responded…” – A conversation of with Dr. Laurie Eisenberg, member of Tree of Life Congregation about the shooting and the global response. 

2:15A visit to the new memorial exhibit outside of the Tree of Life synagogue building.  

Cleveland Program – Track Options

Option 1

3:00 – Tour of two exhibits relating to the Tree of Life shooting (one is a photography exhibit by National Geographic photographer and native Pittsburgher Lynn Johnson, and the other is a University of Pittsburgh student exhibit through the Jewish Studies Program).

Option 2

2:45 – “Why? Explaining the Holocaust – A keynote lecture with Dr. Peter Hayes

Cleveland Program

3:50 – Snacks and reflection with @akiva staff

4:20-5:45 – Can we correlate the current rise in anti-Semitism with what is happening with hate crimes in general? – Panel Discussion

Speakers Include:

Ken Jacobson, Deputy National Director, Anti-Defamation League; Dr. Peter Hayes, Professor Emeritus, Northwestern University; Dr. Mary Johnson, Senior Historian, Facing History and Ourselves.

Moderated by Dr. Michael Berenbaum

5:45 – Pizza and home  

Speakers Bios

Shannon Foley Martinez

Shannon Foley Martinez, a former violent white supremacist, has two decades of experience in developing community resource platforms aimed at inoculating individuals against violence-based lifestyles and ideologies. Foley Martinez has worked in at-risk communities teaching and developing dynamic resiliency skills. She has worked for school systems, nonprofits, and community organizations.   She has participated in programs with such organizations as the UN Office of Counter Terrorism, the National Counterterrorism Center, Hedayah, The Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, UN Women, and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.  Her story has been featured globally, including: The TODAY Show, NBC’s “Left Field,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Marie Claire magazine, Quartz, Al Jazeera America, and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “On Second Thought” program. She has been a commentator on such news outlets as HLN, CNN, Canada One and BBC radio. Foley Martinez has also assisted in training law enforcement officers, building programs for educators, and collaborating with tech companies like Google and Twitter. As the mother of seven children, she feels passionately about building empowered families and communities.  She believes that we all have the power to enact profound and fundamental change in our lives.

Dr. Michael Berenbaum

Dr. Michael Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the development of historical films. He is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust at the American Jewish University where he is also a Professor of Jewish Studies.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Dr. Mary Johnson is the Senior Historian at Facing History and Ourselves. Mary Johnson began her teaching career as a Peace Corps Volunteer Teacher in Northern Nigeria. She earned her Masters and Doctoral degrees from Washington University. Following graduate school, she taught Women’s Studies and European History at Washington University and Temple University and spent a year as a visiting fellow at the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women. Since 1983 she has been with Facing History and Ourselves, facilitating seminars and workshops, writing curricula and conducting research. Currently, she is conducting research on sexual violence during the Holocaust and genocide and deepening understanding of the Nanjing Safety Zone and other examples of safety zones during atrocities.

Dr. Peter Hayes

Dr. Peter Hayes, author of “Why? Explaining the Holocaust,” specializes in the histories of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust and, in particular, in the conduct of the nation’s largest corporations during the Third Reich. He taught at Northwestern for thirty-six years from 1980 to 2016, in the process winning several awards. The recipient of numerous research fellowships and a former member of the academic boards of several professional societies and Holocaust memorial sites, Prof. Hayes currently serves as the chair of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Kenneth Jacobson

As ADL’s Deputy National Director, Kenneth Jacobson serves in a number of capacities including representing ADL when CEO Jonathan Greenblatt is not available, writing extensively on ADL subjects, speaking to groups across the country and educating ADL staff and volunteer leaders about the history and legacy of the organization. Ken joined ADL in 1971. He is the longest serving ADL professional and has served in many roles, including leading the International Affairs, Civil Rights, Marketing and Communications, and Education divisions at various times. Ken has a BA in history from Yeshiva University and an MA in history from Columbia University.