Barrack Students Visit Home of the Paper Clips Project

From left to right, Maddison Barrack, Rebecca Shaid, Sarah Scheinmann and Emma Dorsch.

When their plane touched down in Tennessee, Emma Dorsch, Sarah Scheinmann, Rebecca Shaid and Maddison Barrack — four high school students from the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in suburban Philadelphia — did not realize that they were about to embark on a life-changing experience. Representing Barrackā€™s Holocaust Education and Reflection (HEAR) Club, the girls would be attending a dedication at Whitwell Middle School in rural Tennessee, home of the famous Paper Clips Project. [Read more…]

“Paper Clips” Documentary Shown at Har Zion Temple


— by Bonnie Squires

The award-winning documentary, Paper Clips, was shown Sunday, at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, and Sandra Roberts, the eighth-grade teacher from Whitwell, Tennessee, who supervises the project, spoke to several hundred Har Zion Hebrew High School students, parents, friends and community members.  Seen here welcoming Ms. Roberts are (left to right) student Seth Selarnick, his mother Nancy Selarnick, both of Penn Valley; Ms. Roberts; and Norman Einhorn, co-principal of Har Zion’s Hebrew High School.

Ms. Roberts  was asked by her principal in the late 1990s to create an after-school project to each tolerance and understanding, particularly in light of the lack of diversity in their small-town middle school.  When Roberts learned that her students just could not fathom what 6 million would be, in studying the Holocaust and the extermination of Jewish communities in Europe, she challenged them to come up with a collection of 6 million somethings so they could touch and feel the enormity.

The students did research and learned that Norwegians wore paper clips on their collars during Wolrd War II as a way of showing quiet sympathy for the Jews who were perishing in concentration camps.  So Whitwell students began writing letters to famous people, journalists, companies, asking everyone to donate a paper clip in memory of someone lost in the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Project mushroomed, and an article in the Washington Post really helped launched the project.  The film, which was done about ten years ago, criss-crosses the country, raising awareness and teaching students and their families to work to stamp out prejudice.