Sunday, May 19, 2013

Life in a Jar -- The Irena Sendler Project

Irena Sendler was a Polish Roman Catholic nurse/social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II, and as head of the children's section of Żegota, an underground resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw.

Aided by a number of other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled about 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, provided them with false identity papers and with housing, managing to save those children during the Holocaust.
Some children were smuggled to priests in parish rectories. She and her co-workers buried lists of the hidden children in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities. Żegota assured the children that, when the war was over, they would be returned to Jewish relatives.
The Nazis eventually discovered her activities, tortured her, and sentenced her to death, but she managed to evade execution and survive the war. In 1965, Sendler was recognized by the the State of Israel as a Righteous Gentile Among the Nations. She also was awarded Poland's highest honor for her humanitarian wartime efforts.
In 1999, students at a high school in Kansas produced a play based on research into Irena Sendler's life story titled Life in a Jar. It has since been adapted for television as The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. Her story was largely unknown to the world until the students developed The Irena Sendler Project, producing their performance Life in a Jar
This student-produced drama has now been performed over 285 times all across the United States, Canada and Poland. Sendler's message of love and respect has grown through the performances, over 1,500 media stories, a student-developed website with 30,000,000 hits, a national teaching award in Poland and the United States, and an educational foundation, the Lowell Milken Education Center, to make Sendler’s story known to the world.
The Center is a student and teacher think-tank for celebrating unsung heroes in history with exciting projects. Role models in history are used to demonstrate how one person can change the world. Projects are developed all over the U.S. and around the world.
Here is a link to some of the Center's current exhibits.
The Center has now expanded to Europe. The Lowell Milken Center Europe works with schools in Europe to teach respect and understanding among all people, by developing history projects about unsung heroes whose actions promote these values, regardless of race, religion and creed. These projects are in the form of performances, documentaries, websites and exhibits, or other creative ideas.
The Lowell Milken Center Europe discovers, develops and communicates the stories of unsung heroes who have made a profound and positive difference on the course of history. Through student-driven project-based learning, people throughout the world learn that each of us has the responsibility and the power to take actions that "repair the world" by improving the lives of others.

One can even purchase a book from the Lowell Milken Center about the Irena Sendler Project.

Tikkun Olam/Repairing the World is a strong message of the Center. And consider that it only has to start with one person. Irena Sendler was such a person.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Funny Valentine--Redux!

It's been quite some time since I posted anything in my blog...but I had this idea brewing for a while, so just the other night I decided to act on it.

A year ago, I posted my interview with the wonderful, approachable, and very down-to-earth comedian Wendy Liebman. She is as funny -- if not funnier -- than she was a year ago. Her tweets @WendyLiebman are hilarious and so point-blank, as are her FB updates. She sets up the challenge for witty repartee whenever she posts something. Unfortunately her blog posts have been sporadic at best -- wait! who am I to talk? -- but with each one we glean a little more insight to Wendy, seeing what makes this woman tick.

I thought it would be ideal to approach Wendy again and throw some more questions her way.

No, I won't necessarily make it an annual blog post, but she was kind enough to respond to my request, and I'd like to share my questions and Wendy's answers with you. I kept this "interview" short and sweet.

Thank you, Wendy, and Happy Valentine's Day to you and Jeffrey!


I visited with you a year ago for Valentine's Day. A lot can happen in 365 days. Could you name some highlights and some lowlights that have marked the past year for you.

Highlights include doing my weekly radio show with Terri Nunn on KCSN 88.5 in LA (and on the web!) performing a lot, meeting new comedians that I love (Amir K., Andrew Woodhull, Eliana Horecko), and watching my family thrive creatively!

Lowlights, I lost my father-in-law in March. I lost one of my two dogs in December. 
What are you most proud of at this point in your life?

Well, I’m almost 52 and I just wrote my first play! The actress that I had in mind when I was writing it wants to do it! So, I have to say, today, this is my proudest accomplishment to date!

If you could change ANYTHING about yourself, would you? If so, what would that change entail?

If would have better sleep hygiene. I am not an insomniac, because once I’m asleep I could sleep forever (I’m a sleep pig). But I don’t let myself go to sleep until I have to. What would fixing this entail? Making myself get into bed at a reasonable hour and just lying there until I drifted off. It’s that time in bed, thinking, that I need to deal with. Ah, another 30 years in therapy....
Fill in the blanks:
I love my husband, Jeffrey, because I love the songs he writes -- the music he makes. He can also annoy me because he won’t throw a tube of toothpaste away.
The song whose lyrics I best associate with is Perfect Day.
My mother taught me to be open minded and my father taught me to listen.
I was born in New York State. I lived in Boston. I live in California. I really would love to take time to visit and explore my own home because I’m too tired to travel when I’m not working.
You've just won a large lottery. What's the first thing you do with your winnings? (besides get health insurance)
I would pay off my debt which I incurred when the amount they were paying me for the same gigs was less, and there were fewer gigs. After that I would buy a house. I’ve never owned a house! Then I’d buy presents for all of my friends, which is what I used to do when I had money. And give tons of it to the charity I do an annual benefit for:

You want to play the role of Sheldon's therapist on The Big Bang Theory. Why? Have you done anything to try and make that happen? I’ve been in therapy for more than half of my life. I’ve tweeted this to the showrunner, Bill Prady. And I tell everyone who will listen.
If you wrote your autobiography, what would you name it? (I'm going for "Fifty Strands of Gray") “May I Have Your Attention Please,” “Falling Through The Cracks,” “Pink Socks,” “As Long As I’m Up Here,” or “What to Wear to Therapy.”

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and all your readers!

Thanks Pearlie!


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