Chase Brodsky, a seventh grader at Jericho’s Temple Or Elohim, is one of just four teenagers on Long Island to receive this year’s Friedlander Upstander Award from the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Nassau County. The $2,500 scholarship recognizes students “who have shown themselves to be Upstanders against intolerance in any of its forms.”
“It really means a lot to me,” Brodsky said. “After my Bat Mitzvah, I really wanted to focus on being an Upstander because it’s something really important to do.”
Brodsky, as part of her two mitzvah projects, first donated instruments for people who can’t afford them, and then had a venture called “Sababa,” which means awesome in Hebrew. It was her way to give back to the community and to Israel, she said.
“I didn’t think I was going to win,” she said.
The award, in its ninth year, is sponsored by the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation. Friedlander was a Holocaust survivor who came to New York in 1949.
The Upstander Award “highlights the often difficult mindset of today’s young person seeking to do what he or she knows is right. Given the peer pressures and other conflicts that exist in schools, it takes a special young person to advocate for those who are being bullied or hurt in some away by others.”
“Since she spent so much time focusing on teaching others to do the right thing and to treat others with respect, I wanted her to put her life in writing,” Kim, her mother, said.
Nominated by Temple Or Elohim Director of Education Deborah Tract, Brodsky exemplified what this award means.
Brodsky said, “I want to promote two things—making people aware of the Holocaust and I want other people to be an Upstander.”