Tuesday, Sept. 15 @ 7:30 p.m.
The San Antonio Chapter of Hadassah will host a free Webinar regarding tolerance, and how to teach it to our youngsters and teens. The ZOOM program will be led by Lisa Van Horn Barry, an elementary school teacher who helped champion SB1828, a unanimously passed 2018 Texas State Bill enacting Holocaust Remembrance Week and subsequently signed into law. Barry’s Tolerance Talk will offer suggestions and resources, along with methods on how to incorporate the skill of weaving tolerance and empathy into your children’s behavior. The virtual program will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept.15. The event is open to the community but an RSVP is required by sending your name and email address to the San Antonio Hadassah Chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org before Thursday, Sept. 10.
Passionate about teaching the Holocaust for 16 years at three school districts, Barry was honored in 2019 by Jewish Federation of San Antonio as the first recipient of the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio’s Maxine Cohen Hope for Humanity Educator Award. Recognized for her efforts to end prejudice and hate, Barry was lauded for spreading a message of love within and out of her classrooms. Additionally, Barry has received the 2009 Youth Mentor Leadership Award from the Sequin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Alamo Heights District Teacher of the Year Award in 2020. As passage of Senate Bill 1828 – the new Holocaust Education Law carries no direct funding or enforcement mechanism, responsibility for meaningful participation falls on individual superintendents or teachers. It is through Lisa Barry’s 5th grade classes at Alamo Heights Independent School District and the others demonstrate, she’s already enabled to know what’s possible.
Barry has been using Holocaust education as a teaching tool for more than 16 years in 3 different school districts. She got the idea of advocating for Holocaust education as an anti-bullying method when she witnessed students harassing a classmate and was reminded of a personal past experience with bullying. “If Holocaust literature can show students a way to get through tough times, they can have hope,” says Barry. Adding, “If one kid is helped, if one kid is even impacted, it’s worth working myself to the bone to do it.” Barry said. “We’ll continue pressing for this education.”
The week of January 27, 2020 was designated as the first Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week. In June, Hadassah advocated H.R. 943, The Never Again Education Act, was signed into law after passing the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support and passing the Senate by unanimous consent. This critical legislation will help provide federal funding to expand Holocaust education in the United States. The Never Again Education Act helps ensure that awareness of the lessons of the Holocaust remain ingrained in the collective American consciousness. Providing a tremendous step forward toward prioritizing and standardizing Holocaust education, educators like Lisa Van Horn Barry will be able to continue using it as a tool to teach Tolerance to her students, while also serving as a model to world leaders around the globe.
“With the High Holy Days approaching, we need to search our behavior and focus on how words can be used to hurt or to heal. As a teacher specializing in Tolerance, Ms. Barry can help us and our children learn how to stop bullying and stop being bullied,’ said Chapter President Marion Bernstein.