“Passion and persistence will get you there, wherever your ‘there’ may be.”
Life is a gift, and everyday we breathe is a day to give thanks. Jordana Lebowitz learned that for herself as a participant in March of the Living.
After the March, Jordana returned home with a new purpose. “The trip reframed how I saw my whole life, the world and my role in it. I was just infused with this sense of gratitude for being alive.”
Inspired with purpose, Jordana decided to dedicate her life to ensuring that the horrors of the Holocaust will remain in the past, and that we will live lives of remembrance and self-fulfillment in the honour of those lost.
“This is a story, not about Jews alone, but about humans: the depths we can sink to, and the heights to which we can rise. I am working to reduce prejudice in society and make a better world in the names of survivors and those who passed.”
Her first step was bringing a cattle car to her university campus in Guelph, with the help of Hillel. No setback was too daunting for Jordana, and eventually, after months of planning, negotiating and organizing, she repurposed a German cattle car replica into an experiential museum for Holocaust Education Week. “I was so inspired in that place, and I knew others, regardless of their affiliation to Judaism, would be, too.”
Jordana was right. In two days, 2000 students walked through the exhibit, and she realized the potential for education and inspiration that this cattle car held.
Meanwhile, Jordana worked tirelessly to attend the last Nazi trial in Germany in the summer of 2017. After returning home from a week of courtrooms and the making of history, she partnered with Kathy Kacer in the writing of a novel, How to Look a Nazi in the Eye, about her experiences at the trial.
“I learned that passion and persistence will get you there, wherever your ‘there’ may be. When people see that you want it enough, they want to help you. It’s almost contagious.”
After the success of the cattle car exhibit, Jordana transformed her project into its own nonprofit organization. Now, she works full-time for Shadowlight, inspiring youth to learn from the past, remember the victims and make sure it stays in the past.
“I am driven by this desire to change things, and make change in the world. Though my steps may be unsteady, and though I do not know where they may lead me, I do it anyway, because I believe in it. This whole experience, I work with the fear and the drive and passion, and I keep on.”
RANDOM RAPID FIRE WITH JORDANA
1. Solo or team player
2. Raptors or Leafs
3. Fame or Fortune
4. Last book you read? The Underground Railroad by Whitehead
5. Useless talent? Flip my tongue in my mouth
Jordana Lebowitz is passionate about the future of Holocaust education. After interning globally, including working at the United Nations in the Holocaust Education Department, she founded ShadowLight, a nonprofit organization which teaches youth about the injustices of the Holocaust and makes it relevant to today, in the hopes of inspiring the future generation of change-makers and justice-seekers. Email Jordana at email@example.com to get in touch.
Website for ShadowLight is: https://www.myshadowlight.org
Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/ShadowLight-2235727680032226/?modal=admin_todo_tour (ShadowLight)
Instagram is: my_shadowlight
Promotional video for the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f8ijt1c6L8
Link to book’s website: https://secondstorypress.ca/teen/to-look-a-nazi-in-the-eye
Interview by Adina Samuels