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Veronan Leads Program To Bring Jews, Muslims Together


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Students participating in the Interfaith Living Museum program. (Photo: Melanie Einzig)
Students participating in the Interfaith Living Museum program. (Photo: Melanie Einzig)
This season, the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Lower Manhattan has joined #GivingTuesday, an innovative international effort to harness the collective power of giving through the joint efforts of charities, families, businesses, and individuals.

Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support, and help create a better world. Taking place on December 2, 2014, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, and will provide a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have become days that are synonymous with holiday shopping.

Elizabeth Edelstein, Director of Education at the Museum, said, “Tzedakah, charity, is one of the important Jewish values highlighted in the Museum’s Core Exhibition. #Giving Tuesday encourages mindful giving and inspires people to take a few moments out of the busy holiday season to do something for others. We’re proud to take part in #GivingTuesday and to focus our efforts on fostering friendship and understanding between Muslim and Jewish students, something that is very much needed today.”

This year, the Museum’s #Giving Tuesday initiative is The Interfaith Living Museum project, which brings together 90 Muslim and Jewish fifth graders from across NYC to overcome prejudice by discovering what is both unique and shared in their cultures. The six months of cross-cultural learning include trips to each other’s schools and places of worship and the creation of a heritage-themed mini-museum. On #GivingTuesday, the Museum hopes to raise $8,000, to foster new friendships by treating the students to bowling, pizza, and other bonding activities, including a celebratory dinner for the students and their families.

Amanda Lanceter, a Verona native who is the museum’s manager of curriculum and teacher programs, said, “Working on this program and getting to witness the impact it has on students has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. It’s amazing to see these students connect with peers they would not have met otherwise, and form lasting friendships that continue after the semester ends.”

Seeing an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire action around charitable giving, a group of friends and partners, led by the 92nd Street Y, came together to find ways to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving. Thought leaders in philanthropy, social media and grassroots organizing joined with 92Y to explore what is working in modern philanthropy and how to expand these innovations throughout the philanthropic sector. The concept gained steam, and with the help of the United Nations Foundation and other founding partners, more than 10,000 organizations have joined the movement and are providing creative ways people can embrace #GivingTuesday and collaborate in their giving efforts to create more meaningful results.

“It’s been a privilege to work with remarkable leaders all over the country building a movement around #GivingTuesday,” said Henry Timms, 92Y’s Executive Director “This initiative has truly been crowd-sourced by some of the smartest and most connected minds among the next generation of philanthropists and entrepreneurs.”

Those who are interested in joining the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s #GivingTuesday initiative
can visit www.mjhnyc.org/givingtuesday. For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website, Facebook page, or follow @GivingTuesday and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Twitter.

About the Museum

The Museum’s exhibitions educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the rich tapestry of Jewish life over the past century—before, during, and after the Holocaust. Current special exhibitions include Against the Odds: American Jews and the Rescue of Europe’s Refugees, 1933-1941 and A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community. It is also home to the award-winning Keeping History Center, an interactive visitor experience, and Andy Goldsworthy’s memorial Garden of Stones. The Museum offers visitors a vibrant public program schedule in its Edmond J. Safra Hall and receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

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