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Why This Matters Speaker Series

Why does learning about antisemitism matter? What about media literacy? Join the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum in August for a series of four virtual lectures called “Why This Matters.” The first three programs – covering antisemitism, Holocaust Education, and media literacy – all lead up to a “sneak peek” from world-renowned museum designer Patrick Gallagher, of the new St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, opening in summer 2022. Why is this new museum of crucial importance for the St. Louis community and beyond? Join us in August to find out.  

Defining Antisemitism and Why It Matters
Presenter: Mark Weitzman
August 5, 2021
6:30 pm, Zoom

Mark Weitzman is Director of Government Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and is also Chief Representative of the Center to the United Nations in New York. He is a member of the official US delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Authority (IHRA) where he chaired the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial and is currently chairing the Working Group on Holocaust Museums and Memorials. Described by the London Jewish Chronicle as “the architect” of IHRA’s 2016 adoption of the Working Definition of Antisemitism (which is the first definition of antisemitism with any formal status) he was also the lead author of IHRA’s Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion which was adopted by the 34 member countries of IHRA in 2013. Mr. Weitzman is a participant in the program on Religion and Foreign Policy of the Council on Foreign Relations, served as a member of the advisory panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and co-chaired the Working Group on International Affairs of the Global Forum on Antisemitism. He currently serves as Vice-President of the Association of Holocaust Organizations and was member of the advisory board of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy at Yale University as well as a longtime member of the official Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Group of New York. In 2019 he was invited to be one of the founding board members of the International Organization of Antisemitism Research, the first academic society for the interdisciplinary study of antisemitism. He has been recognized for his work by the US Army, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and also served as the Historical Advisor to the Marvel Comics graphic novel “X-Men: Magneto Testament”. 

The Vital Need for Holocaust Education
Presenters: Ariel Behrman & Jesse Tannetta
August 10, 2021
6:30 pm, Zoom

Ariel Behrman & Jesse Tannetta will look at the vital need for Holocaust education on multiple fronts, the two most concerning being the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust in the US and the many benefits to Holocaust education, which is supported by survey datconducted on college students commissioned by Echoes & Reflections in 2019. Next, they will provide an overview of legislation about Holocaust education nationally and in Missouri, the work Echoes does in promoting Holocaust education, and their evaluation work to demonstrate the success of their programs. 

Context Means Everything: Questions We Might Ask Each Time We Access Media
Presenter: Jessica Brown Billhymer
August 19, 2021
6:30 pm, Zoom

A collaborator with St. Louis’ Holocaust museum. bringing media literacy education to its stakeholders for several years, now, Jessica Z. Brown –Billhymer is a longtime proponent of empowering citizens to think critically about media messages, both as consumers and message creators.   Brown-Billhymera  community connector and professional volunteer, speaks to a variety of community audiences on the importance of media literacy as a life-long skill and vehicle toward agency,  and is president and founder of Gateway Media Literacy Partners which recently completed a five-year project focusing on children six months- to five-and-a half years old.  The initiative has gained national attention for its timely media literacy tips for educators, parents and caregivers. Brown-Billhymer is a full adjunct professor at Webster University where she has taught media communications courses for close to 19  years.  She also serves on St. Louis Press Club’s board of directors, is an officer of the Digital International Media Literacy Education initiative and is a longtime member of   UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy Alliance innovation committee. 

Why Our Region Needs a Holocaust Museum: Introducing the New St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum
Presenter: Patrick Gallagher
August 26, 2021
6:30 pm, Zoom

World-renowned museum designer Patrick Gallagher will provide a sneak peek at the planned expansions for the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum. Gallagher and Museum staff members will reveal new museum renderings, overviews, and plans for the institution’s future. This can’t miss program will mark the first time these exciting plans have been revealed to our community.