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Acclaimed violinist Miri Ben-Ari presents awards for tolerance

Herb Boyd | 10/31/2013, 2:16 p.m.
Miri Ben-Ari

Whether her virtuoso violin is paired with jazz musicians, hip-hop artists or a commercial for Pepsi Cola, Miri Ben-Ari, a Grammy Award winner, is an inspired performer. Now the humanitarian has combined her nonprofit Gedenk organization with Scholastic Art & Writing Awards to create the Gedenk Award for Tolerance.

With tolerance as the theme, five aspiring writers and artists will receive $1,000 for an original work of art, all of which must reflect upon lessons learned from the Holocaust and other genocides.

In a short video on GedenkMovement.org, an informal survey was conducted among a diverse number of young people, and 40 percent of them had no idea what the Holocaust was, when it occurred or the impact of genocide on their lives. To this end, Ben-Ari, the CEO of Gedenk, knew something had to be done to improve the understanding of tolerance and the importance of creating a more peaceful society.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Scholastic Art & Writing Awards on this campaign,” Ben-Ari said in a press release. “It’s not easy to encourage young people to learn about atrocities such as the Holocaust, but his unique and creative approach has engaged them to embrace tolerance.”

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards campaign is open to any public, private, parochial or home-school student in grades seven through 12 in the U.S. and Canada. Students in an American school abroad may also participate. Submissions are now being accepted, and the deadline within 2014 varies slightly by region.

Scholastic has supported and encouraged the creativity of teens for 90 years, and collectively with Gedenk, which was established in 2006, they will award and recognize the exceptional vision and impact of the youth of today. For more information on Gedenk or how students can submit their work for the Gedenk Tolerance Award, visit gedenkmovement.org.