Social Action Shabbat: Guest Speaker Rachael Cerrotti

Top Pick December 6, 2019 Lowell Free
Rachael Cerrotti (Photo: Meghan Dhaliwal)
Rachael Cerrotti (Photo: Meghan Dhaliwal)

For our upcoming social action Shabbat, we’re delighted to welcome award-winning storyteller and educator Rachael Cerrotti. Rachel will talk about retracing her grandmother’s war story and the intertwined, contemporary issues of immigration and racism.

  • 6 p.m. “Pre-neg” with noshes and schmoozing
  • 6:30 p.m.: Erev Shabbat service led by Rabbi Robin S. Sparr
    with a talk by Rachael Cerrotti

In 2009, Rachael Cerrotti asked her grandmother a question: Will you tell me your story? Rachael was a college student and her grandmother, Hana, was 84 years old—the matriarch of one family and the sole survivor of another. For the following year, Rachael recorded the details of her grandmother’s childhood, her escape from war and her immigration to the United States. After Hana’s death in 2010, Rachael became entrenched in her grandmother’s story, digitizing Hana’s personal archive of diaries, photo albums, immigration papers and more. When the digitizing felt nearly complete, she went out to retrace the history. Along the way, Rachael fell so deep into her grandmother’s life that it became the foundation of her own.

Rachael has taken this documentary storytelling and transformed it for the classroom with a goal of telling the story of the Holocaust through a contemporary perspective. She recently produced a podcast for USC Shoah Foundation, titled “We Share The Same Sky.” The podcast tells the story of two young women—Hana as a refugee who remains one step ahead of the Nazis at every turn, and Rachael, on a search to retrace her grandmother’s history. The seven-part series explores how the retelling of family stories becomes history itself and how acts of kindness during war can echo across generations.

During her TEMV program, Rachael will talk about her journey retracing her grandmother’s war story. Her presentation will focus on the contemporary aspects of the story, including the universal experiences and hardships of new immigrants trying to find their way in a new country, as well as the racism her grandmother witnessed upon immigrating to America in the 1950s.

You can hear Rachael’s podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and other streaming services, as well as on her podcast website. Learn more about Rachael and her work at

We hope you will join us and invite anyone you know who may also be interested!

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Fact Sheet
Friday, December 6, 2019, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Temple Emanuel of the Merrimack Valley
151 Warren St
Lowell, MA 01852

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