New Jersey Jewish News
Millburn Hadassah chapter launches scholarship for Holocaust study trip
Thanks to a $125,000 donation by Marcia Robbins-Wilf, Millburn chapter of Hadassah announced a new scholarship to send students enrolled in the organization’s yearlong program in Israel on a 10-day trip to Poland.
There they will participate in the Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Hadassah Young Judaea Holocaust Studies Program, visiting concentration camps and speaking to survivors.
“Considering what’s happening in the Middle East now, it’s even more important for youth to learn about what happened in the past to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Robbins-Wilf said.
Robbins-Wilf, of Short Hills, is a teacher by trade her doctorate is in education and an educational philanthropist by vocation.
“Education is my passion,” she said. “I feel that all children should be brought to their potential and allowed to learn. Primarily what I’m doing now is educational philanthropy.”
Robbins-Wilf has long been a friend of Millburn Hadassah, said Nancy Kislin Flaum, the chapter’s major gifts chairwoman. The $125,000 gift is an “inspiration to our community.”
“Dr. Robbins-Wilf has supported programs and greeted the community with her warm hospitality,” said Kislin Flaum, who is a family therapist with a practice in Chatham. “We are incredibly grateful for her leadership and her commitment to Hadassah.”
The scholarship is open to recent high school graduates enrolled in Young Judaea’s Year Course in Israel. Young Judaea is the youth arm of the Hadassah movement. The course for recent high school graduates combines living, studying, and volunteering in Israel with extended field trips to Israeli community settings.
“We know that this program will help ensure that our children continue to learn and study the Holocaust,” Kislin Flaum said. “Marcia’s gift will continue to serve as a beacon to others in the community, helping us support the incredible work that Hadassah accomplishes. When Marcia told me what she wanted to do I almost started to cry; I felt I was helping to preserve history.”
Robbins-Wilf said current events around the world including the genocide in Darfur suggest that the possibility of another Holocaust is real and “very scary.”
Sending young people to Poland offers “a wonderful opportunity” to raise that awareness, she said. “The fact that it’s not in America it’s overseas the students will have a firsthand experience of visiting the concentration camps, talking to survivors, learning about everything that happened in the area and to the people who lived there.”
After their experience in Poland, the students will finish their year of study in Israel, thus traveling the same path that many of the Holocaust survivors traveled, Robbins-Wilf noted.
Providing for a Hadassah scholarship touches Robbins-Wilf beyond her personal commitment to Holocaust education. She has worked as a grade school teacher and reading specialist and sits on the board of the Rose Thering Endowment for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University, which trains teachers in tolerance and Holocaust education. She became a life member of Hadassah as a child.
During her childhood in West Orange, she said, “I used to send coupons I had collected to my grandmother in Florida. I don’t remember why they were collecting them, but we did. She made me a life member when I was a little girl.”
Robbins-Wilf is a founding member and remains involved with a Hadassah chapter in Harrisburg, Pa.
Kislin Flaum said, “This program will help this generation of our youth never forget what happened to six million Jews.”
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