anti-violence | Not in Our Town


  By Rachel Burke Koslofsky Last Monday, I led our family’s Second Annual Interfaith Skype Passover Seder. At 6 p.m. California time and 9 p.m. Kentucky time, each segment of the family crowded around a computer screen to participate. This offbeat tradition was born out of an experimental seder set in Kentucky during Holy Week of 2012—and fueled by curiosity. My father’s parents raised him as a Brooklyn Jew in the 1950’s. During the same decade, and just 700 miles away, my mother grew up in the Christian Church in Maysville, Kentucky. It might as well have been another world. My father’s childhood was full of pastrami sandwiches on rye and his Zadie’s most perfect challah. My mother’s consisted more of honey glazed ham and butterflake rolls from the family bakery her grandfather and Uncle Sam ran in Danville, Kentucky. My father also grew up with an Uncle Sam, three in fact, though prior to their arrival at Ellis Island they were Uncle Simcha, Schmuel and Shlomo. But that was back in the shtetl of Lithuania. The one thing the two did have in common growing up was their fathers’ dedication to their respective faiths.
This week in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, we are highlighting three stories of youth standing up to intolerance and violence. Spread the Peace (Mother Caroline Academy)  Ariana's brother was killed in a drive-by shooting. Most of her classmates at Mother Caroline Academy in Dorchester, Massachusetts have been affected by violence. After watching "Not In Our Town" in a Facing History class, Ariana and her peers launch their own neighborhood “Spread the Peace” campaign to help stop the violence. (11 min 13 sec)   Students Teach Students to Stand Up to Bullying At Shaw High School in East Cleveland, OH, students in Lori Urogody-Eiler's Facing History and Ourselves class mentor younger students in how to be an upstander, not a bystander, when faced with bullying and intolerant acts. (5 min 47 sec)