On September 27, 2021 the third cohort of the Remember Project met virtually. This year's Remember Project cohort is comprised of 20 teens from diverse backgrounds. These 22 teens represent 10 local public and private schools in the greater Charleston area. During the meeting the students learned about stereotypes, essential vocabulary, the history of Antisemitism and how it continues to persist today. Students were given necessary tools to combat Antisemitism in their schools and communities. Read below as Noelle Whitener reflects on our first meeting.
My name is Noelle Whitener, and I decided to join the Charleston Remember Project to try and make a greater impact on my community. I was lucky enough to be able to take a course on the Holocaust last school year, learning about the Jewish culture, the Holocaust, and other mass genocides. I learned so much more than I ever thought I could, and when I discovered the Charleston Remember Project, I was drawn in instantly. An opportunity to learn more about the Holocaust and how to stand up more effectively against hate in my community was too good to pass up.
The meeting was very educational for me because I learned much more about the history of Jews and why they have been oppressed for so long. We did a “Myths vs. Facts” activity that shed light on how horribly Jews have been treated due to things that are not even real. My group got the myth that Jews are collectively responsible for the death of Jesus. Despite numerous claims by the Catholic Church which disprove this myth, some people still believe it and believe that “Jews drink the blood of Christians.” Apparently, some Christians have taught their children to be afraid of Jews due to this myth. It surprises me that anyone would believe that the Jews are responsible for Jesus’ death, particularly since crucifixion, the method used to execute Jesus, is forbidden by Jewish law. It seems that people who continue to believe this myth and others about Jews simply refuse to do the research to disprove them.
I am so excited to continue with the Charleston Remember Project. It is so nice to be able to connect with people my age who share the same interests and passions that I do. Some people I know are relatively uneducated about the Holocaust and do not seem to care about speaking out against hate to prevent future genocides. I think it is very important to speak up against oppression wherever it is found to prevent it from going any further. People do not realize that stereotyping and discrimination are the first steps of genocide. They are more hurtful than they seem, and people must speak out against this type of behavior to promote equality and freedom.
*Noelle Whitener was selected to participate in the third cohort of the Remember Project. High school students have a rare and unique opportunity to study the Holocaust and other genocides by becoming an ambassador in their school and community through the Remember Project. For high school students looking for a meaningful and profound community service experience, this cohort is an excellent option with monthly meetings to ensure this next generation is committed to ‘Always remembering’. For more information on the Remember Program visit https://www.jewishcharleston.org/remember