The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center is pleased to announce the establishment of the Gloria and Rubin Feldman Family Education Institute. Gloria and Rubin (z’l) Feldman have a long history of philanthropy in the St. Louis Jewish community, and the Institute fulfills one of their lifelong dreams to enhance Holocaust education in the St. Louis region. Under the auspices of the Institute, the museum will have the ability to build on its current programming strengths and expand its educational objectives.
Both Gloria and Rubin’s parents taught them the importance of giving back to the community and the value of education. Rubin, who died in 2002, and Gloria experienced the darkness of the Holocaust and witnessed the cataclysmic effects of hatred and discrimination. Born in Lithuania, Gloria immigrated to the United States with her parents Abraham and Bessie Kaplan and her brother David and settled in St. Louis in 1949. Her other brothers, grandparents and almost all of her many aunts, uncles and cousins were murdered in the Holocaust. To this day, Gloria does not dwell on the past, saying, “I prefer to live in the present and look toward the future.” This positive vision inspired Gloria to create the Feldman Family Education Institute.
Kent Hirschfelder, current chair of the HMLC, says that when Gloria first approached him about establishing the Education Institute “the first word that came to me was ‘transformational.’” Hirschfelder notes that this initiative will significantly expand the museum’s mission to teach the history of the Shoah and its lessons, which are still currently relevant, such as confronting hatred, promoting human dignity, and the dangers of indifference and of being a bystander. In fact, it was through the generosity of Rubin and Gloria Feldman that the museum was able to create “Change Begins With Me,” an interactive exhibit focusing on hatred, discrimination and ethnic conflict in the world today.
According to Hirschfelder, an initial step in exploring the potential of the Institute will be the formation of an advisory committee, comprising educators, community leaders and respected individuals, to explore, develop and expand programming opportunities.
Gloria said she and Rubin wanted to give something to the community that would “make a difference.” The Institute is already supporting a state-wide Holocaust education workshop intended to attract teachers from underserved regions, scheduled for this summer. Through the establishment of the Institute, Gloria wants to demonstrate her support for the dedicated staff of the HMLC, Jean Cavender, Dan Reich and Andrew Goldfeder. In addition, she wishes to recognize the countless hours donated by committed volunteers and especially the survivor speakers. Gloria would also like to thank Kent Hirschfelder and all the past chairs who have made the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center what it is today.
Gloria Feldman created this Education Institute on behalf of the Feldman family, including her beloved husband, Rubin, their son Dr. Steven Feldman, daughter Cheryle Atkin, four grandsons and one granddaughter.
Gloria does not know how she survived the Holocaust, but having survived, she is committed to do whatever she can to create a better world. Gloria says she gives on behalf of “the millions of souls that were senselessly murdered. Perhaps this is why I survived.”