Our Goals

Our Goals

Students need to understand the following

  • The Holocaust was no accident. It occurred because people made deliberate choices employing all of the apparatus in a fascist state to engage in the mass murder of 6,000,000 Jews.
  • The Nazis murdered millions of non-Jews too. This includes political dissidents, intellectuals, LGBTQA+, labor union leaders, Disabled Persons, Roma, and civilians in every country the German military conquered.
  • Prejudice, bigotry, and racism are social poisons that erode the fabric of a democratic society.
  • Silence, apathy, and indifference are the enemies of a pluralistic democracy.

Staff and Leadership

Executive Board Directors

Board Members

  • Connie Berman

  • Ronnie Breslow

  • Dr. Adam Denish

  • Gary Erlbaum

  • Rhonda Fink-Whitman

  • Shari Glauser

  • Robert Greenberg

  • David Hardy

  • Kurt Herman*

  • Ruth Kapp Hartz

  • Linda Hershman

  • Michael Herskovitz*

  • Tonya Herskovitz, Esq.

  • Phil Holtje

  • Jody Kessel

  • Dan Lodise

  • Lise Marlowe

  • Alberta O’Brien

  • Debbie Rosenberg

  • Hal Rosenthal, Esq.

  • Sue Rosenthal

  • Daniel Schwarz, Ph.D.

  • Lori Shaffron

  • Steven Shotz

  • Dina Lichtman Smith, Ph.D.

  • Rabbi Lance Sussman. Ph.D.

  • David Tuck

  • Klara Vinokur*

  • Jack Weiss

*of blessed memory

Our Mission

Our Mission

Our mission is to educate students and adults in the Philadelphia area and throughout the world.

Using the resources of the museum, our mission is to educate students and adults in the Philadelphia area and throughout the world, personalizing the Holocaust so that they learn the consequences of racism, ethnic cleansing, and intolerance. The Holocaust was a watershed event, not only in the 20th century, but in the entire history of humanity. We believe that studying and discussing the Holocaust provides one of the most effective ways to work with students to examine basic moral issues and value systems. What are the lessons of the Holocaust for us today?



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Museum History

Museum History

The Jewish Identity Center’s Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center, America’s first Holocaust museum, is 60 years young. Yaakov Riz, the museum’s founder, was a Holocaust survivor who lost 83 members of his family in Adolf Hitler’s concentration camps. Riz vowed that if he survived he would dedicate his life to establishing a museum that would memorialize the millions of Jews and Non-Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis. The museum’s genesis, growth and struggle against intolerance are the realization of his dream, courage and commitment. The Museum was initially founded in the basement of Riz’s home in Northeast Philadelphia and since then it has wandered around the Delaware Valley. As a matter of fact the Museum has been in Melrose Park, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, KleinLife in Northeast Philadelphia and in August 2020, the Museum found a new and larger home at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park.

Yaakov Riz, HAMEC Founder

Yaakov Riz, HAMEC Founder

The museum’s educational and community outreach is ecumenical and comprises a population that ranges from elementary school to older adults. Many students come from disadvantaged homes and some are from Syria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Serbia which are countries in conflict.

During the last 59 years, the Museum has educated hundreds of thousands of students and adults in schools, community groups, and organizations. Additionally we provide teacher training opportunities. Our programs emphasize the message that racial, ethnic, and religious hatred are social poisons that weaken the American democracy.


During the last 59 years, more than 200,000 students and adults have participated in museum programs. Our programs primarily take place in public, archdiocesan, and private schools though we certainly welcome home-schooled students and their parents. We have also presented at federal installations and universities throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. During the 2019/2020 school year, our Educational Programs reached 23,750 students and adults in 175 schools, organizations, and businesses.


We Need Your Support

We can’t accomplish our programs without the support of people like you. The Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Grants, including the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, support our work. Additional support comes from individuals and schools. Please support our Holocaust Education Programs and our vital mission. Donations in any amount are gratefully accepted. Please inquire regarding recommended donations for particular programs.