Rachael most notably presents her long-term project, Follow My Footprints, to groups of all ages. She primarily speaks about topics such as displacement, grief, and resilience through a historical, restorative and personal lens.
Speaking Engagements Have Included :
U.S. Embassy of Czech Republic, Northeastern University, The Tuzman Holocaust Teach-in at Gratz College, Moore College of Art, Wheelock College, Kutz Camp, various Hadassah chapters and nearly two dozen congregations in the Northeast region.
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All lectures, presentations and classes are adjusted for the specific audience. The material can be adapted for school-aged children, high school and university classes, and adult education. Dialogue programs and workshops are also available.
To request a speaking engagement, please contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more, please visit : www.followmyfootprints.co
Follow My Footprints
Topics : World War II, Displacement, Unsung heroes, The Rescue of the Danish Jews, Refugee Crisis (past and present), Family History
Using photographs, video, interviews, archival documents, contemporary headlines, and personal stories, Rachael brings this story into classrooms and communities, adjusting the focus of her presentations and workshops to speak to the age and interest of the audience.
She has created curriculums for and worked with hundreds of students of all ages, from as young as fourth grade to adult education.
For teen and young adult classes, workshops can be molded to aid students in better understanding the refugee crisis and to build empathy for those facing persecution today. Contemporary chapters of this work paired with historical context are an important opportunity to have challenging conversations in a safe space. Rachael's goal is to bring a new relevance to the history of World War II that inspires students to think about how the past -- both personal and political -- has come to effect the present.
For adult education, Rachael often focuses on the personal journey she took following in her grandmother’s footprints, exploring the coexistence between trauma and resilience and the importance of storytelling from generation to generation. She does not shy away from the grief that lays within the pages of her grandmother's history and speaks about her own experience with the sudden death of her young husband. She is driven to tell stories of suffering and survival through a restorative lens that empowers.
Now a Widow, Still a Wife
Topics : Grief, Resilience, Young Widowhood
On September 29, 2016, my husband suddenly collapsed and died on our bedroom floor. He was 28 years young and we were two weeks shy of our first wedding anniversary. On that Thursday morning, I woke up in his arms, feeling secure in our Boston apartment. I went to bed a 27-year old widow in my parent’s basement.
I wasn't angry after Sergiusz (pronounced in America as Sergio) passed away, at least not at the world. He died far too young of natural causes, a fact I have accepted. But, I was angry that no one could point me to a mirror. No one could introduce me to another young woman who could tell me from her own experience that I would be okay. As a society we are uncomfortable speaking about death and grief which often results in a feeling of alienation for those who are grieving. This is not okay. When we lose our person, we shouldn't also lose our identity and our stories. For young people it is especially difficult as disbelief and discomfort often clouds the hard conversations. As I settle into the identity of widow, I watch my peers settle into their life as a wife.
About six months after losing my husband, I put a call into a couple grief groups online asking if there would be any interest in being a part of a portrait series about young widowhood. In less than 48 hours, around 100 women wrote to me eager to be a part of this project; most were under the age of 40. Since then, I have corresponded with over 150 young women who have shared a piece of their story with me. I bring the narratives of our love lost and our life gained to communities to encourage dialogue and reflection about love, death and grief. Our stories are as tragic as they are beautiful.
Upcoming Professional Development & Talks
Yad Vashem : Seminar for Educators in Jewish Supplemental Programs (Jerusalem, Israel / June 2018)
Yad Vashem, International Conference : Holocaust Education - Time, Place & Relevance (Jerusalem, Israel / June 2018)
Facing History and Ourselves : Democracy at Risk / Holocaust and Human Behavior for Educators in Jewish Settings (Boston, Massachusetts / July 2018)
Presentation : International Conference : Pre-Genocide - Warnings and Readiness to Protect (Copenhagen, Denmark / September 2018)