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Empowering Educators: The Defiant Requiem Foundation’s Innovative Teacher Training Program
Wednesday, September 20, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EDT
Join us for an immersive journey into the past and present, empowering you to enrich your teaching with resilience and creativity.
Session 1: September 13th
In the first part of a two-part series, The Defiant Requiem Foundation will introduce educators to the little-known but meaningful story of Jewish conductor Rafael Schächter and a group of prisoners in Terezín concentration camp who learned to sing Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem Mass as an act of creative resistance. Participants will watch the 45 minute classroom-length version of the Defiant Requiem documentary film together and then join in a discussion with Foundation President Murry Sidlin. Maestro Sidlin will take questions about the story of Defiant Requiem and put it in the larger context of creative, artistic, and intellectual life in Terezín.
Session 2: September 20th
In the second part of the two-part series, Education Director Alexandra Zapruder will introduce educators to Defiant Requiem’s curriculum materials and programs, focusing especially on modules designed for high school teachers in a variety of disciplines including social studies, English language arts, music, and art. Through small group work and discussion, teachers will also be introduced to several stories of contemporary acts of cultural resistance and will learn how they can bring these inspiring stories to their students.
Conductor, Defiant Requiem Foundation
Murry Sidlin, a conductor with a unique gift for engaging audiences, continues a diverse and distinctive musical career. He is the president and creative director of The Defiant Requiem Foundation, an organization that sponsors live concert performances of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín and Hours of Freedom: The Story of the Terezín Composer; as well as other projects including the documentary film, Defiant Requiem; a new docudrama called Mass Appeal, 1943, which was premiered in June 2017; and The Rafael Schächter Institute for Arts and Humanities at Terezín. In addition, he lectures extensively on the arts and humanities as practiced by the prisoners in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) Concentration Camp.
Mr. Sidlin began his career as assistant conductor of the Baltimore Symphony under Sergiu Comissiona and then was appointed resident conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra by Antal Doráti. He has served as music director of the New Haven and Long Beach (California) Symphonies, the Tulsa Philharmonic, and the Connecticut Ballet.
Alexandra Zapruder began her career as a member of the founding staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Smith College, she served on the curatorial team for the museum’s exhibition for young visitors, Remember The Children, Daniel’s Story. She earned her Ed.M. in Education at Harvard University in 1995.
In 2002, Alexandra completed her first book, Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust, which was published by Yale University Press and won the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category. It has since been published in Dutch and Italian. She wrote and co-produced I’m Still Here, a documentary film for young audiences based on her book, which aired on MTV in May 2005 and was nominated for two Emmy awards. In the fall of 2015, she completed a second paperback edition and a multimedia edition of Salvaged Pages and, in conjunction with Facing History and Ourselves, published related educational materials designed for middle and high school teachers. She contributed an essay about young writers’ diaries to the Anne Frank House Permanent Catalogue, which was published in eight languages.
In November 2016, she published her second book, Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film, which tells the story of her grandfather’s home movie of President Kennedy’s assassination. She curated a permanent exhibition titled And Still I Write: Young Diarists on War and Genocide which opened at Holocaust Museum Houston in 2019. In 2020, in partnership with EIHR, she launched a project called Dispatches from Quarantine which provided a platform for young people to document their real-time experiences of life during the Covid-19 Pandemic and published an online gallery showcasing their contributions in prose, poetry, photography, art, and song. In 2021-22, she ghostwrote a forthcoming memoir about a German-Jewish refugee family during the Holocaust and consulted on an online-exhibition at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research on the diary of Yitskhok Rudashevski from the Vilna Ghetto.
Alexandra serves as the Education Director of The Defiant Requiem Foundation. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights (EIHR), a nonprofit that develops partnerships with teachers in post-conflict countries to provide training in best practices on human rights, genocide prevention, and Holocaust education.
She has been published in Parade, LitHub, Smithsonian, and The New York Times.