On Oct. 30, 2022, Moreland Hills resident Lindsay Friedman was named Kol Israel Foundation’s new education director.
A native Clevelander, Friedman brings communications, technology development and project support skills to the role, where she is responsible for organizing, implementing and supervising Kol Israel Foundation’s Holocaust education program Face to Face. The program offers an on-site experience at Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood, an in-school program featuring docents and speakers, and virtual presentations through Zoom. The program serves about 3,000 students a year, she said.
A third-generation Holocaust descendant, Friedman also published, “Not Even a Number,” a book about her grandmother Edith Perl’s Holocaust experiences at Auschwitz before she died in 2017. Perl’s mother, Friedman’s great-grandmother, died at Auschwitz.
Friedman told the Cleveland Jewish News that her familial connection to the Holocaust drew her to the professional opportunity.
“Her big thing to all of her grandchildren when we were young was that right before her mother was killed, she wanted her to tell their story,” said Friedman, 42, who attends B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike with her significant other, David Kampinski, and daughter, Lily. “She said, ‘You must tell everyone what happened so it doesn’t happen again.’ We got stories from the time we were little kids, like those were our bedtime stories. My grandmother was very open and adamant to tell those stories. So, Kol Israel’s mission is important to me in general, but there is also that personal connection.”
As an entrepreneur, Friedman also founded three companies – WritingRoom.com, a social networking website for writers; FlipSnap LLC, a movie studio in an app; and CareBloom, a remote patient monitoring device. Those experiences, Friedman said, have helped her in her new role at Kol Israel.
“I feel like every job I’ve ever taken or every role, it all goes back to being a storyteller,” she said. “In trying to tell stories in the most compelling way, to get to that end result you want to portray to a reader or listener – that’s what we’re doing with our students. We also work with second and third-generation survivors to tell their stories. Not just what happened to their family members, but being able to connect people to those stories and bring them to life in a way that makes a difference.”
Bringing middle and high school students face-to-face with a survivor or a direct descendant to hear those stories makes the difference, Friedman said.
“It’s a very important age, to give them more than a textbook experience,” she said. “I had my grandmother, so I didn’t need that education. But in high school, all we had were the textbooks, a lesson to describe what happened and we’d maybe watch ‘Schindler’s List.’ But, it is very different for students to actually be able to talk to a survivor and ask questions. They can see a real human being at the other end of the story, not just words on a page. It puts a face to the tragedy.”
In the future, Friedman said she hopes to cultivate a program that “engages the modern student.”
“We know students today have different experiences than they had even just five years ago,” she said. “Their way of learning is different. So, the biggest thing I’m looking at now is creating more dynamic, innovative programming that resonates with students. We want them to go home and think, ‘I have to do something. I have to be better.’”