National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) will launch the celebration of its 25th anniversary with the Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference October 21-23, 2012, on the University’s hilltop campus in Greensburg, Pa. The theme for the 2012 conference is “Holocaust Education: Challenges for the Future.”

Sister Gemma Del Duca, S.C., Ph.D., founder and co-director in Israel of Seton Hill’s NCCHE, said “We begin our 25th anniversary as a Center with the Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference in October. It is so appropriate that we host this special opportunity for noted scholars in the field to meet with Holocaust educators from across the country.”

The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference will feature prominent international scholars, educators, advocates and filmmakers addressing Holocaust education.

“Together with deeply committed scholars we will look at future challenges in the study and teaching of the Shoah, which is the Hebrew word for Holocaust, in a fast moving, changing world, where technology can dictate political, economic and social changes. The study of the Holocaust has much to teach about the danger of dictatorship, about the necessity to be guided by religious, ethical principles and universal human values, and about the difficulty and importance of maintaining human dignity in extreme situations,” said Sister Gemma. “This conference will also challenge us to use technology to enhance Holocaust education, making it more accessible, which is something we did not envision in 1987 when we began. Over the years we have learned to appreciate writing, poetry, art, music and film, especially of the survivors who have been our greatest teachers. We will look for ways to keep their memories and their works alive as an integral part of Holocaust education in the future.”

Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg, Ph.D., will serve as the conference’s keynote speaker. Greenberg is a Modern Orthodox rabbi, Jewish-American scholar, author and leader in Holocaust education. In 1975, he founded the Zachor Holocaust Resource Center with Elie Wiesel. He was executive director of President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on the Holocaust, which led to the establishment of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Later Greenberg served on the museum’s founding board and council. In 2000, President Bill Clinton appointed him to chair the council.

Featured speakers for the plenary sessions during the conference include: Yehuda Bauer, Ph.D., professor of Holocaust Studies, Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Eva Fogelman, Ph.D., social psychologist, psychotherapist, author and filmmaker; Myrna Goldenberg, Ph.D., professor emerita, Montgomery College; Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, O.S.M., Servite priest and professor, social ethics, Catholic Theological Union of the University of Chicago; Joanne Rudof, archivist, Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University; Carol Rittner, R.S.M., Ph.D., distinguished professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Dr. Marsha R. Grossman Professor of Holocaust Studies, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; John K. Roth, Ph.D., author, editor and Edward J. Sexton professor emeritus of philosophy and founding director, The Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights, Claremont McKenna College; Stephen Smith, Ph.D., Holocaust specialist and executive director, Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, University of Southern California; James Waller, Ph.D., social psychologist and the Cohen Endowed Chair of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Keene State College ; Carl Wilkens, director of nonprofit website, World Outside My Shoes, and advocate for genocide awareness.

“The conference is made possible by benefactor Dr. Ethel LeFrak. Seton Hill University is indeed grateful for Dr. LeFrak’s generosity. Her support allows the University to host a conference featuring many respected, international scholars in Holocaust education,” said Sister Lois Sculco, S.C., Ph.D., vice president of Mission and Student Life.

For preliminary conference details, click here or call 724-830-1033.

The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference seeks to enhance Catholic-Jewish understanding by educating the educators. The Conference will equip teachers and faculty members, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussions on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and to write and deliver papers that shape appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites.

In 2008, LeFrak, a noted New York philanthropist, made a generous donation to Seton Hill University’s NCCHE to endow The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference and create The Ethel LeFrak Student Scholars of the Holocaust Fund.

Seton Hill University’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) was established on the campus of Seton Hill University in 1987. Seton Hill initiated this national Catholic movement toward Holocaust studies in response to the urging of Pope John Paul II to recognize the significance of the Shoah, the Holocaust, and to “promote the necessary historical and religious studies on this event which concerns the whole of humanity today” (Letter to Archbishop John L. May, 1987). The NCCHE has as its primary purpose the broad dissemination of scholarship on the root causes of anti-Semitism, its relation to the Holocaust and the implications from the Catholic perspective of both for today's world. Toward this end the Center is committed to equipping scholars, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussion on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; shaping appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites; sustaining Seton Hill's Catholic Institute for Holocaust Studies in Israel through a cooperative program with Yad Vashem, the Isaac Jacob Institute for Religious Law and Hebrew University; encouraging scholarship and research through conferences, publications, workshops for educators, and similar activities; sponsoring local events on the Holocaust and related topics in the University and the community and enhancing Catholic-Jewish relations.