Grace Bennett, a Chappaqua resident and publisher of two publications, Inside Chappaqua and Inside Armonk magazines, and Paul Elliot, a Rye resident and Founder of ELCO Management an investment advisory firm, will be the honorees at the upcoming Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center’s (HHREC) annual gala on October 26 at the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club.
Both honorees have had a long-standing commitment to the White Plains-based organization that creates compelling programs on the Holocaust, genocide and human rights crimes for students and teachers and encourages today’s students to speak out and be ‘upstanders’ against all forms of prejudice and bigotry.
Since the organization’s inception in 1994, HHREC has provided lessons to more than 1,750 teachers and thousands of middle and high school students in Westchester, Fairfield and Putnam counties. “We honor Grace Bennett and Paul Elliot with gratitude and admiration for their exemplary service to HHREC. Grace has been a valued and respected member of HHREC for many years.
“As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Grace brings passion and commitment to Holocaust remembrance. Her contributions include, but are not limited to, participation in all aspects of marketing and promotion, and she was featured in the L’Dor Vador (From Generation to Generation) project where she and her father’s photos and interviews were highlighted in the highly acclaimed documentary and photo exhibit,” noted Millie Jasper, the Executive Director of HHREC. The project was produced by Seth Harrison of The Journal News and HHREC was instrumental in providing the survivors and the second and third generation family members for the photo exhibit and documentary.
Paul Elliot has been a board member for many years and a consistent supporter of the Center’s programs. “Paul chairs the Endowment Portfolio Committee where he consistently brings his financial expertise to all discussions. His leadership, marked with vision and wisdom, continues to strengthen the Center,” commented Jasper.
“Survival of the organization is very important to me. There is no substitute for when a survivor or a member of the next generation shares their personal story with students. Funds are vital so that we can continue that process and reach more kids and make it part of their curriculum,” said Elliot.
Bennett became involved with HHREC after writing some ten years ago that she was a child of Holocaust survivors in her “Just Between Us” column that appears in this magazine every edition. A reader, Richard Laster of Chappaqua, was the first chair of HHREC’s board and suggested that she explore the group. “Since then, I have viewed my own role largely as simply spreading awareness through the Inside Press publications while I encourage others to learn about and support this group too.” Inside Press publications have had numerous articles on Holocaust-related topics throughout the years.
“Since my divorce a decade ago, the constants in my life have been incredibly meaningful. One has been my involvement with HHREC. They bring Holocaust education into our schools by recognizing and honoring teachers who take that mission very seriously. Through their extraordinary annual Human Rights Institute (involving some 30 schools each year), they help shape the student leaders of tomorrow to fight hate and bigotry in all its forms by introducing the concept of being an ‘upstander,’ explained Bennett.
In addition to a wide range of programming with the Human Rights Institute, HHREC has a Speakers Bureau featuring authors and an extensive library of related literature open to the public. “HHREC has helped so many survivors, and now children of survivors can develop and share our family’s stories through the GenerationsForward initiative.”
“The survivors are leaving us soon. It’s up to us now. My involvement with HHREC provides me with a sense of hope for our collective future.” Bennett will be attending the gala with her family including her father, Jacob Breitstein, a 95-year-old survivor whose mother and four brothers and sisters all perished. Tickets to the gala can be purchased at www.hhrecny.org.