2012-03-07 / Federation

Volunteers making a difference

Generations of devoted individuals from all walks of life have served the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey to help make tomorrow better than today. These volunteers are the lifeblood of our Federation, delivering hope, dignity and comfort to hundreds of people every day.

One such volunteer is Helene Bouton. An Auschwitz survivor, she immigrated to the United States after the war to begin a new life with her husband Max

(the couple is pictured below).

Today she is part of a statewide “Adopt A Survivor” program that is being co-sponsored by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education and The Goodwin Holocaust Museum and Education Center (GHMEC). The program has students meeting with a survivor for three consecutive sessions, enabling them to learn the story and testimony of the survivor. It culminates in a pledge by each student to tell the story they heard to family, friends and schoolmates now; and in the future—especially in the year 2045—100 years after the liberation of the concentration camps.

Bouton is one of the 11 survivors sent by GHMEC to three local schools this academic year. After a recent visit to a Haddon Township High School, Helene received this letter (reproduced here in part) from the classroom teacher:

“Dear Helene,

Today, I, along with a select handful of students, was fortunate enough to hear more about your remarkable life story. And even though we will meet again soon to learn more of your amazing life, I just wanted to thank you for the gift of today.

I think it was especially poignant…to hear you speak of your beloved husband, Max… And I think your ability to tell your exceptional story, through your pain and grief, is a testament to your love for Max—and his love for you.

Thank you Helene, for making this a…day I will never forget…”

This program, along with the many other programs offered by GHMEC, helps students understand the consequences of hatred and the reasons that none of us should be bystanders in our communities.

The Goodwin Holocaust Museum and Education Center of the Delaware Valley is a department of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), the public policy and human relations agency of the Jewish Federation of Southern NJ. JCRC develops activities and programs that build understanding and foster mutually enhancing relationships among different communities throughout Southern New Jersey. By working to combat bigotry and prejudice against all groups, JCRC improves the security and wellbeing of the Jewish community. Funding for JCRC is provided, in part, by the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign.

For more information about JCRC, visit www.jcrcsnj.org.

To make a contribution to the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign, visit our website at www.jewishsouthjersey.org or call 751-9500, ext. 1214. .

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