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WVIA to debut new community conversation project - “Holocaust Warnings, American Antisemitism and Extremism” - with a public luncheon event at the Sidney and Pauline Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on June 22, 2023

The free luncheon marks the official launch of a multi-part project with world-renowned scholars that will help to educate our regional audience about the importance and weight of words in civil discourse. The project will examine the question, can the Holocaust provide a template for understanding and confronting extremism today? 

PITTSTON, Pa – WVIA, in partnership with Misericordia University, announces the launch of a new multi-part project entitled, “Holocaust Warnings, American Antisemitism and Extremism.” Through community conversations, broadcast and digital media experiences, and educational curriculum, Holocaust Warnings, American Antisemitism and Extremism, examines the rising vitriol and divisiveness across our country, what that means for the future of our democracy, and how we can educate ourselves to strengthen our diverse community. The project will culminate in a sixty-minute television program debuting in Fall 2023 for regional broadcast and digital distribution and shared with public media stations across the country.

The intentions of this project are to highlight this important issue, facilitate a community dialogue, and create educational content all with the goal of bringing the Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania communities together to understand how hurtful words and unchallenged hatred can lead to violence against others.

Pull Quotes:

“We believe a small number of people working together can create big change,” said Carla McCabe, President & CEO of WVIA. “We want to shine our powerful spotlight on this growing problem, create awareness, and bring our community together to educate and influence action.”

“The Holocaust began with words - hateful words aimed at Jews, and others,” said Dr. Carol Rittner, RSM, a key advisor and panelist on the Holocaust Warnings project. “Words can encourage and compliment, but words also can startle and wound people personally and in public ways. Words can poison an atmosphere. Words matter. When prominent people spread anti-Jewish vitriol on social media sites, they add to fears that public figures are normalizing hate and ramping up the risk of violence in America, a country already experiencing a sharp increase in antisemitism.”

About the Panelists: [Interviews available upon request]
Please see attached one-sheet for more information about each of the panelists.

About the Luncheon:
The luncheon will take place on Thursday, June 22, 2023 at 12pm at the Sidney and Pauline Friedman Jewish Community Center, 613 S J Strauss Lane, Kingston, PA. The event will feature a conversation and community discussion with Dr. David Myers, Dr. Alex Alvarez, Dr. Kelly McFall and Dr. Carol Rittner, RSM, moderated by WVIA News Director Julie Sidoni. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

To register for the Holocaust Warnings community luncheon event, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/holocaust-warnings-american-antisemitism-extremism-community-luncheon-tickets-643103599177

To learn more about Holocaust Warnings, please visit: https://www.wvia.org/holocaust-warnings

About WVIA:
WVIA is the PBS and NPR affiliate serving 22 counties in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. For over 50 years WVIA has been committed to serving the people by offering informational, educational, and entertaining content that enriches and expands viewpoints and serves as a catalyst for positive change. WVIA television channels include WVIA TV, WVIA PBS Kids 24/7, and WVIA Create. WVIA’s radio channels include WVIA Radio, WVIA Arts, and the Chiaroscuro Channel. WVIA’s programs can also be found streaming live and on-demand on wvia.org and the WVIA app.

About Misericordia:
Misericordia University is a highly personal community of 2,200 students located in Northeastern Pennsylvania. As a private, Catholic institution founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Misericordia emphasizes collaborative and hands-on learning as well as co-curricular activities provided by engaged faculty and staff. The university challenges students to excel academically, professionally, and socially while providing unique support programs so that students may achieve their goals. Misericordia has notably superior graduation and retention rates. The university’s core values of Mercy, Service, Justice, and Hospitality underpin all of the more than 50 academic programs on the undergraduate, graduate, and non-credit levels in both full- and part-time formats. Misericordia University will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2024 and is Luzerne County’s oldest four-year higher education institution.

Additional Support Provided By:
Benco Family Foundation
The Friedman Hospitality Group
Friends from NEPA
Mercy Ministry Corporation
The Mercy Foundation
The Sister Carol Rittner Holocaust Fund at Misericordia University
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Friedman Interfaith Endowment Fund at Temple Israel
Sondra G. and Morey M. Myers Charitable Gift Fund of the Scranton Area Community Foundation
The Scranton Area Community Foundation
Andrew J. Sordoni, III
Chandler Family Foundation
Greg and Pam Cross
The Davidowitz Family
The Sidney and Pauline Friedman Jewish Community Center
The Jewish Foundation of the West and the Caren Rubin Philanthropic Fund
Carla McCabe
Ellen and Jerry Minkin
Karen and Jim Reid
Dr. George Schwab
Kate Sickora

WVIA Mission
WVIA educates, inspires, entertains and fosters citizenship, diverse cultures, and perspectives to nurture community.