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Cummings/Hillel Program for Holocaust & Genocide Education

We have to look back to move forward into our future.

Through the study of the Holocaust and contemporary genocide, Tufts Hillel teaches students to be active citizens and to defy prejudice, intolerance, racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia wherever they occur.

We study the Holocaust because we want students to know and understand the root causes of this horrible time in Jewish history. We also feel a special responsibility, having gone through that dark time, to devote our energies to understanding and confronting contemporary mass atrocities and genocide in the world today.

The Cummings/Hillel Program for Holocaust & Genocide Education is the result of the vision and generosity of Bill (A58) and Joyce Cummings. Each year, their support enables us to offer programming to educate and to inspire action.

Teaching the Next Generation
Drawing from examples of courageous men and women who have stood up to oppression, resisted and raised a moral voice, Tufts Hillel hopes to teach a new generation of activists and advocates the importance of moral action in the face of persecution and oppression.

Working with a wide range of cultural, religious, and activist groups on campus, Tufts Hillel programming educates our community about the history of the Holocaust and about the on-going toll of genocide in the world today. This broad-based education about the Holocaust and genocide is an interfaith project, involving students from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.

Confronting Intolerance Around the World
There is a tremendous amount of work yet to be done. Over the next several years, there will be fewer and fewer survivors and first-hand witnesses left to share their stories. Their legacies must be kept alive.

Our focus on the issues of genocide education and prevention will inspire the Tufts community to understand the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, to engage in thoughtful advocacy, and help put an end to atrocities around the world.

About Bill and Joyce Cummings
Bill and Joyce Cummings are the founders of the Cummings Institute for World Justice (IWJ). The organization works to help prevent future genocides and other intercultural injustices and to aid in the post-genocide recovery and rebuilding of Rwanda.

A 1958 graduate of Tufts University, Bill is a trustee emeritus of Tufts University, former overseer of Tufts Medical School and former chairman of Walnut Hill Properties, Tufts' property-holding corporation. Joyce is a 1962 graduate of the University of Alabama. She and Bill met in the kitchen of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in 1964.

Bill and Joyce were inspired to create the Cummings/Hillel Program for Holocaust & Genocide Education after listening to and meeting Holocaust survivor Eliezer Ayalon, z"l, at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem in 2009. Bill and Joyce were greatly moved by Ayalon’s harrowing experiences as a prisoner of five different Nazi concentration camps before he was liberated, near death, in May 1945. Ayalon passed away in May 2012 after sharing his journey with audiences around the world.

Inspired to think broadly about how education might help prevent such horrors from happening again, the Cummings established the program at Tufts University to raise awareness of both the Holocaust and contemporary genocides.

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