Share Our Stories is an Arts Education program of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Share Our Stories believes that connecting Holocaust Survivors with young people facing their own extraordinary and unique circumstances can inspire and affirm, and allow students a way to discuss the most pressing concerns of their own lives and to find common ground in their personal histories and mutual hope for a better future. Even in an increasingly technological world, stories are our life currency; we must be able to tell our story to the world in order to have a place in it.
Jordanna Gessler, Director of Education, LAMOTH
Laura Alvarez, Artistic Director, Share Our Stories
WHO WE ARE
Jordanna Gessler was raised in New York City. As a grandchild of Holocaust Survivors, she has always felt a strong connection and interest in continuing the important legacy of Holocaust remembrance and education. After completing her B.A. from the University of Vermont in International Relations and Holocaust History, she continued her studies in the field by pursuing an M.A. in Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa. Her time in Israel afforded her an academic and interdisciplinary study in addition to working as an Intern in the Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem. Her master’s thesis proposal received the 2014 Yad Vashem Award for Research for M.A. and PhD students. She currently works as the Director of Education at Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and serves as Co-Chair of the 3G at LAMOTH Executive Board. She is dedicated to the importance of preserving the stories, history, and experiences of her family, other Survivors, and the Jewish community and educating the next generation of students who will steward this memory.
Laura Alvarez is a bilingual multi-media artist with extensive experience in the world of education -- as teacher, consultant, department head, and as founder of Paradiso Arts, an independent art studio that has served both children and adults for after-school and weekend programming. Laura has exhibited her art throughout the United States and is currently at work on a graphic novel and live action series about her character, the Double Agent Sirvienta. Her images and lyrics appear in the books Urban Latino Cultures, Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities by Laura Perez, and in Domestic Disturbances by Irene Mata. Her writing has been published in Artweek and the San Francisco Institute Magazine. Laura has illustrated three children's books published by Latino Family Literacy Press.
Share Our Stories connects students from under-resourced schools with Holocaust Survivors for conversation, learning, and exploration. Students visit the Museum for a customized tour of LAMOTH, including personal exploration maps and breakout reflection sessions. Holocaust survivors and Museum staff then visit the schools, giving students the opportunity to hear a survivor's life story and engage with the survivor in the classroom. Finally, students participate in a reflective art workshop, working with survivors to create art responding to the survivor's narrative.
A graduate of Scripps College with a BA in Psychology and Anthropology, Rachel Fidler, Creative Programs Director at LAMOTH, was introduced to Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust through her undergraduate thesis work in Holocaust remembrance. Raised in San Diego, Rachel was most recently working at as an Art Educator at the Portland Children’s Museum. Her interest in museum work and Holocaust education brought her to LAMOTH where she is honored to bring generations together through creative film, art, and music projects aiming to spread peace, kindness, and justice in the modern world.