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Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Day 2015: Recap

Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School presented a fabulously successful program called Book Day 2015 on February 25, 2015. This dynamic and exciting symposium centered, this year, on the many themes of the Pulitzer Prize winning graphic memoir, Maus by Art Spiegelman. Maus was selected for its messages of Jewish survival and renewal, the power of its artistic form and its timeless portrayal of the generations seeking connection with each other. Coordinated by Rachail Kurtz, Library Chair, Mica Bloom, English Chair and Brian Katz, Librarian, Book Day is one of the highlights of the Flatbush high school experience.

The day opened with an assembly featuring keynote speaker and alumnus Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League who delivered a powerful address on the power of each individual to stand up and say no to evil. His presentation followed with a dramatic student performance and a video presentation on the monsters who live among us. 
Witness Theater students who where part of the dramatic performance 
The Juniors and Seniors attended workshop sessions from a selection of sixty choices throughout the day, led by prominent guest presenters, and members of our own distinguished faculty. Prominent guests included Robert Bielsky, son of the World War II Jewish partisan leader, Tuvia Bielski, showcased in the film Defiance, who revealed the true story behind the movie, and alumna Dr. Barbara Paris, who testified before Congress on survivor’s rights. Author/illustrator Melanie Hope Greenberg hosted a roundtable on “Creating a Children’s Book: From text to art to publishing” while Dr. Wesley Fisher discussed the international detective work necessary for “Looted Art: Finding and returning Nazi-plundered art” and renowned speaker, Dr. Irit Felsen examined the complicated relationship between survivors and their children. The guest list included the fabulous Klezmer Duo, who demonstrated the authentic sound of klezmer style music, the ever popular sessions offering Jewish ethnic cuisine, Simcha Weinstein and Arie Kaplan who talked about the Jewish roots of comic book superheroes and so much more. Members of our own accomplished faculty led sessions on fascinating topics such as holding onto your beliefs during difficult times, Hollywood and the Holocaust, bioethical and medical dilemmas, the popularity and diversity of graphic novels, how to create your own graphic memoir, and using art as therapy, among many others. The excitement was intoxicating as students participated in producing art, drama and film interpreting the themes of the book as they became involved in all levels of creating and presenting the program. 
Abraham Foxman giving a session
By inviting experts from both in and outside the school community to discuss a diverse array of moral, literary and historical themes, our students felt enriched by the broad overview of those who have primary experience of the topics which were under discussion. The goal of creating an exciting and dynamic venue that would stimulate growth and discussion was accomplished and left our students enriched as they begin to take their place in the world outside of high school.

Videos from Book Day 2015:

Pictures from Book Day 2015: