The mission of this program aspires to celebrate Jewish life and learning, connecting Jews of all backgrounds to their Jewish heritage.
Learn about the Jewish experience from the perspectives of our presenters.
Mickey Bielski was born in Ramat Gan, Israel in 1952, shortly after the end of World War II. His father Tuvia Bielski, was the leader of an organization of Jewish partisans who rescued Jews from extermination and fought against the Nazi German occupiers in areas of German occupied Poland (now western Belarus). The group saved over 1,200 people, including Mickey’s mother, Lilka. Tuvia was joined by his brothers Zus and Asael, to form the Bielski Brothers. They were responsible for the largest rescue of Jews by Jews in all of World War II. In 1956 when Mickey was four years old, he and his family joined Tuvia in Brooklyn with a story that was unique amongst Holocaust survivors. As Mickey grew older, he heard more of the story from his father and other survivors, and to understand the enormity of his father’s accomplishment. The group was the subject of a major motion picture, Defiance. In Growing Up Bielski, Mickey tells what it was like to come of age in the shadow of this incredible legacy. He shares his own, and his father’s stories, with humor, passion and above all love.
Ellaine H. Rosen received a Bachelor of Science, Columbia University, New York City; Bachelor of Religious Education, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York City; Masters of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; Degree in Interior design, LaSalle University, Chicago. Ellaine owned and founded Art’n Facts, sold over 1000 works of art to individual collectors, corporations, museums and art dealers around the country. As a connoisseur on Jewish Art, Ellaine has appeared on television, given vivid, instructional and entertaining art history presentations to organizations on many topics, both nationally and locally. As enrichment for the Docent staff, Ellaine researched, wrote and delivered a two-part lecture: The Jewish School of Paris: 1905-1945 at the Naples Museum of Art with repeat performances at synagogues, universities and a Jewish Federations in Pittsburgh and Florida. Ellaine serves as a Docent for the Holocaust Museum and Education Center of SWFL. Ellaine’s topic is “from Bezalel the Israelite to Agam the Israeli”. Ellaine is married to her wonderful husband Rick and they have two daughters and five grandsons.
Dr. Gerald Franz has been teaching college history for 33 years, focusing upon American and European History. In 2007, Gerald returned to his hometown of Fort Myers and now teaches online history courses for a handful of universities and colleges. Gerald holds three masters’ degrees and two doctorates in the disciplines of history, leadership, religion and library science. He and his wife Wendy have been married for 34 years, and they have two adult children. One of his favorite adventures was a self-study trip with Wendy to Greece, Israel and Egypt focusing on ancient archaeology and working on a dig in Israel. Gerald is planning a trip to visit historical sites and museums in England, France and Italy. It is estimated that approximately 40% of all Americans can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island. Using images and many immigrant quotes, Dr. Franz will tell the story of Jewish immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th century through Ellis Island. Unlike the stories of most European ethnic groups, the journeys of many of the Jews to the United States were prompted by fiery persecution.
Myra Roberts received her BA in art education from Arizona State with in painting and drawing and her Masters in Fine Art in printmaking and illustration from Northern Illinois. Roberts taught for 25 years in Illinois then moved to Sanibel in 1999 with her family. Myra has exhibited throughout the United States and her paintings are in private collections across the United States and Europe. Artwork By Roberts is extensively featured in media in Boston, Colorado, New York and Florida’s WGCU Gulf Coast Live! radio show and WGCU Public Media’s Expressions magazine. Myra Roberts was chosen by WGCU Public Media, Southwest Community Foundation and the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida as one of five “2016 Makers: Women Who Make Southwest Florida. Myra Roberts was selected based on her impact in the arts and social justice in Southwest Florida. Her work includes a book and film: Project Tolerance: The Faces of Anne Frank. I use my paintings of Holocaust survivors and heroes as a teaching tool and lasting memory to them.
David Bernstein, JCPA
Cantor Donna Azu
Dr. Paul Bartrop
Cantorial Soloist Lawrence Dermer
Judge Norman Krivosha
Dr. Stanley Rothman
Dr. June Sochen