HWJFA visits Holocaust Museum LA


Printed with permission of Dani Lynch

Students and parents in the Harvard-Westlake Jewish Families Alliance (HWJFA) eat lunch outside at Holocaust Museum LA.

Davis Marks

Members of the Harvard-Westlake Jewish Families Alliance (HWJFA) visited Holocaust Museum LA on a field trip organized by the group Sunday.

HWJFA is a parent and student affinity group founded in 2020 with the goal of offering Jewish families ways to connect, celebrate and learn about Jewish traditions and heritage.

Gabriel Glassman ’22, who leads HWJFA alongside News Editor Sandra Koretz ’22, said it was important to plan the trip because the atrocities committed during the Holocaust remain significant to this day.

“I believe it’s very important to bring members of our community to the Holocaust museum in order to educate and maintain perspective on such a drastic issue,” Glassman said. “It’s definitely true that every single person who attended today got something out of it.”

Holocaust Museum LA was founded in 1961 by Holocaust survivors who sought to educate the community about the Holocaust as well as commemorate and remember the victims. In order to provide education to anyone who seeks to learn about the Holocaust, the museum is open seven days a week and admission is free.

Member of HWJFA’s Teen Board Dani Lynch ’23 said it was an amazing experience going to the museum with other members of HWJFA to learn more and connect.

“Visiting the Holocaust Museum LA with other members of HWJFA was comforting,” Lynch said. “Being there together allowed the opportunity to connect as a community and share experiences that included personal stories and knowledge. It united us with a mission to stand up against antisemitism and hatred, to educate others, and to ‘never forget.'”

On the field trip, members of HWJFA walked around the museum and heard from speakers, including Executive Director of Holocaust Museum LA Beth Kean and Harry Davids, who survived the Holocaust as a child. In recognizing the brave actions his parents and others took to help him survive, Davids encouraged students to be upstanders, not bystanders, when they see wrong in the world.

Zoe Kramar ’24, a member of HWJFA, said learning about the perspective of Holocaust survivors with other members of the school’s Jewish community was a special experience.

“Attending the JFA trip to the Holocaust museum in LA was a uniquely valuable experience,” Kramar said. “Listening to first-hand accounts of Holocaust survivors shed a powerful light on the incomprehensible horrors which plagued the Jewish people. A few summers ago, I went with my grandparents to the Holocaust museum in Israel, Yad Vashem. While that outing left an unmistakable impression on me, it was meaningful to learn about the Holocaust with other members of my school community.”

Glassman noted that one of HWJFA’s main goals is adding Holocaust education to the school’s history curriculum and said that the field trip is an important step in bringing attention to this objective.

“This field trip connected our goals because it kickstarted the awareness and learning of Holocaust material within the community,” Glassman said. “We had administrators [Associate Head of School] Laura Ross and [Head of Upper School] Beth Slattery come to our visit because we wanted to show to them how important it was to [educate the community] about the subject and hopefully carry that into our school’s curriculum.”