A Tale of Two Communities: Long-Lasting Lessons & Permanent Installations
In our 11 years of existence, we have watched The Butterfly Project evolve into a grassroots-gone-global project as our butterflies have traveled around the world and back. We have witnessed our butterflies flutter to far-away places like Israel, Poland, Mexico, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Latvia, Peru, and of course many, many cities here in the United States.
Occasionally, a community shows so much passion for our mission that it takes our breath away. When that occurs, it’s important to take the time to celebrate their work… not only to honor their efforts and dedication, but also to showcase to other communities just what is possible!
In this article, we are shining the spotlight on the Sabes Jewish Community Center and Hadassah Minneapolis in Minneapolis, and the Levine Jewish Community Center in Charlotte to highlight their incredible work to bring The Butterfly Project to life in their communities.
Sabes Jewish Community Center and Hadassah Minneapolis – Minneapolis, MN
“When first hearing of The Butterfly Project at our Hadassah Chapter board meeting we were immediately taken by the ability to learn from the past and project this knowledge to the future. The important issue was to affect not only the survivors who lost family during the Holocaust but to speak to those who are part of our future, the children. In creating this multi-generational event we have given breath and hope to our ability to overcome the worst and look to a more hopeful future without hate and bigotry. Whenever we can give hope and promote healing to our communities we need to seize the opportunity. Painting one butterfly for each of the 1.5 million children was our answer. Thank you to the initiators of this project, Cheryl Rattner Price and Jan Landau.” – Hadassah Midwest Region
From Robyn Awend, Director of Cultural Arts at Sabes JCC
The Sabes JCC and Hadassah Minneapolis partnered in presenting an outstanding NOT The Last Butterfly film screening event as a part of an international initiative featuring “The Butterfly”, a poem written by a young Pavel Friedmann, at Theresienstadt concentration camp on 4 June 1942. He died in Oswiecim* (Auschwitz) on September 29, 1944.
Over 85 children and adults attended this event. The participants learned about Hadassah Happenings, saw a short film featuring Holocaust education as well as an explanation of the origins of The Butterfly Project. They then had the opportunity to paint ceramic butterflies, each memorializing one of the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust. Participants later hung their unique butterflies as part of the exhibit now being displayed in the Tychman Shapiro Art Gallery at the JCC.
This exhibit will be displayed in the gallery until October 26th. Each of these butterflies, a message of remembrance, hope and transformation will eventually be a part of a permanent exhibit somewhere in the Sabes JCC.
Please click here for more pictures of this exhibit.
Levine Jewish Community Center – Charlotte, NC
Since 2009, Levine JCC’s Margaret & Lou Schwartz Butterfly Garden Holocaust Memorial has invited students from all over North Carolina to their campus to participate in the lessons and art of The Butterfly Project. The students attend workshops to learn about the dangers of hatred and bigotry, and paint butterflies in honor of a child who was killed during the Holocaust. Some students’ butterflies are been included in a permanent installation on the Levine JCC campus. When finished, the sculpture will have 7,500 butterflies.
From the Levine JCC
“The Children’s Holocaust Memorial Sculpture, installed and dedicated in 2011 by artist Paul Rousso, has been covered over the years with the ceramic butterflies that our workshop participants paint, each in memory of a special child who was killed in the Holocaust. In Spring 2017, mosaic artists Patrick Robertson and Marilyn Barrier applied the butterflies to the last two emerging wings of the sculpture. A special thanks to the hands-on leadership of Wilma Asreal, Gwen Orland, Barbara Ziegler, Past Board President Judy August, Executive Directors Phil Berman and Peter Blair and the staff, donors and scores of volunteers in Charlotte for the nearly 8 years of their dedication and hard work from the moment they decided to join The Butterfly Project in 2009.
In October of this year, the Levine JCC brought our documentary film, NOT The Last Butterfly, to their community and screened the film to over 125 people. The film was very well received and everyone who attended very much enjoyed the program.
We are so moved and inspired by the passion and dedication each of these communities has shown in teaching their young people to remember the past, act responsibly in the present, and create a more peaceful future. We are honored they have invited The Butterfly Project to join them in their work to educate their communities and are excited to see what comes next for each of them, and for new communities who choose to follow in their footsteps!
If you would like to bring The Butterfly Project to your community, please email us for more information.