By Marsha Raimi, Docent Chair
Nashville’s Holocaust Memorial is redeveloping its docent program and is looking for volunteers. The Memorial, located on the grounds of the Gordon Jewish Community Center in Bellevue, is seeking four to six volunteer docents to provide guided tours of the site. Memorial Committee Chair, Felicia Anchor, and Docent Chair, Marsha Raimi, are looking not just for individuals with a personal connection to the Holocaust, but anyone who cares about imparting the crucial history and lessons of the Holocaust to visitors. Anchor mentioned, “We’re hoping that, in addition to second and third generation ancestors of survivors, concerned community members will pick up the torch and light the way with knowledge of this special memorial site. It is up to all of us to keep this memory alive.”
Throughout the pandemic, requests for tours were minimal, so Anchor and local artist Alex Limor, a survivor’s son, were able to lead most tours. Recently, two significant projects at the Memorial were announced at the Yom HaShoah ceremony (see “The 2022 Yom Hashoah Service Remembers the Children of the Shoah”, June issue) which Anchor believes will increase visit requests substantially.
A tree sculpture was added to the Holocaust Memorial grounds. It was designed Limor, who also created the other sculptures in the Memorial. The tree will be the focal point for the Butterfly Project during the upcoming school year. The project is a call to action using arts education. While students create ceramic butterflies to commemorate the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust, they’ll learn about the dangers of hatred and bigotry that led to the tragic loss of these young lives. They’ll be encouraged to cultivate empathy and social responsibility and to seek social justice.
The Butterfly Project will be funded in part through the “adoption” by donors of a grove of thirty living trees planted at the site to create a more private atmosphere for reflection. A garden to attract butterflies and pollinators will weave through the adopted trees and ceramic butterflies from the student project.
Anchor says it is not necessary to be a historian or scholar, “The only real qualification for a docent is a desire to educate and share the story of the Holocaust and how our memorial honors the memory of Nashville victims and survivors. We’ll provide all the training you need, mostly during October. The time commitment for leading tours will be flexible.” To volunteer or ask questions, email Felicia Anchor at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marsha Raimi at email@example.com.