Center for Humanity, Tolerance and Holocaust Education created in College of Liberal Arts

By Jonah Lewis, deputy news editor

The reading room in the College of Liberal Arts building underwent renovation during winter break, becoming the Sandra R. Berman Center for Humanity, Tolerance and Holocaust Education. 

“The Berman Center is a brand new initiative that is still not officially dedicated and opened,” Hana Bor, the Berman Center’s director, said. “The College of Liberal Arts received a nice-sized gift to start a center that we call the Center for Humanity, Tolerance and Holocaust Education.” 

Located on the fourth floor, the center comes in the wake of rising antisemitism nationwide. In its most recent audit of antisemitic incidents, the Anti-Defamation League saw a 36% increase from 2021-22. 

Hillel International, a Jewish campus organization, reported a national rise in antisemitic incidents after Oct. 7. The establishment of the Berman Center is unrelated to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, a university spokesperson said in an email Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Towson in November as a part of the Biden administration’s antisemitism awareness campaign, The Towerlight reported

“There is a demand for more Holocaust education among educators,” Chris Chulos, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said. “We see the Berman Center as a way to educate and train teachers on Holocaust education.”

Chulos said that Bor is planning a multi-day workshop to include Holocaust education, with the first year of the workshop focused on getting the program off the ground and pointing out the collection of Jewish artifacts that the Albert S. Cook Library has to offer.

Towson University received approval for a graduate certificate program relating to Holocaust education, which is headed by Bor. 

The Berman Center, according to Bor, will play a major role in the education of those in the certificate program. 

“We wrote to many Holocaust centers, and we’re trying to create collaborations with the United States Holocaust Museum and the Jewish Museum of Maryland,”  Bor said.

In addition to the events and collaborations that Bor and Chulos envision, the center will serve as a way to promote courses that are not offered through degree programs.

They both see the most ambitious parts of the center taking effect at the end of the summer. These include hosting speakers and oral history lessons, in addition to QR codes giving a history on the different symbols used within the mural outside the room.

“This is a positive step forward for the college and the university,” Chulos said. “What we want to do is create conversations about humanity and tolerance.”

Though not officially open to students and faculty, the Berman Center will be open when it is possible to staff, Bor said. Its first event will be a screening of the documentary “Gimpel The Fool Returns to Poland” on March 14. 

Clarification: This article has been updated to add that the creation of the Berman Center is unrelated to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.


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