As a renowned artist and art therapist, Beth Goldberg knows that engaging people in painting and reflecting on their emotions promotes healing and stimulates hope for people – even in dark times. When Beth discovered through the Foundation’s Wish List that a Holocaust butterfly art project at the Mandell JCC needed funding, she immediately recommended a grant from her Foundation Donor Advised Fund.
“When you select the colors and paint a butterfly that identifies and memorializes a beautiful life, you put a part of yourself in the project,” says Beth, who lost family members in the Holocaust.
Founded in 2006 in San Diego, The Butterfly Project is engaging thousands of people worldwide, including Greater Hartford, to hand paint 1.5 million ceramic butterflies to commemorate the same number of children killed during the Holocaust. Each participant paints a colorful butterfly to honor a child’s life, and to symbolize hope and freedom from oppression, intolerance and hatred.
“We are incredibly grateful that the project is being sponsored by The Beth and Benjamin Goldberg Fund,” says Jane Pasternak, Jewish Family Program Director at the Mandell JCC who, along with Sharon Holtzberg, the JCC’s Adult Program Director, brought this special project to our community.
The Mandell JCC is engaging individuals of all ages who are affiliated with the JCC, including families, teens, teachers, as well as Holocaust survivors and their descendants. The aim is to have nearly 200 butterflies hand-painted by these community members, which will be included in a permanent art installation at the JCC to memorialize the children lost in the Holocaust.
Participants also watch an educational film about the global program and receive a card with a picture and write-up of a child who perished during the Holocaust.
“We need to remember the lives that were lost by keeping them alive in our memory,” says Beth. “I support this project because it involves the continuity of life.”
The global project was inspired by The Butterfly, a farewell poem written by Pavel Friedmann, a prisoner at Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, to the very last butterfly he saw in 1942. The project has also inspired Beth to write the poem “Lost” dedicated to the 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust.
For more information about The Butterfly Project at the Mandell JCC, please email Jane Pasternak at firstname.lastname@example.org.