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The Art of Living Well Podcast®

Nov 22, 2023

Laura Zelle is Director of Holocaust Education at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, (JCRC) where she has been on staff since 2005. Laura oversees the daily operations of the program, writing grants and delivering curriculum, educator workshops, speakers, and film showings.  She has been responsible for the vision and creation of numerous educational resources. 

Laura’s creativity and dedication to anti-bias education is apparent in her latest national project.  After forming a separate non-profit in 2012 called “Tolerance in Motion”, Laura raised funds, recruited board members and envisioned the narrative path for a traveling exhibition that would eventually be accepted by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (“SITES”).  Four years later, in 2016, Laura pitched the idea to the Smithsonian and soon became the project director for the “The Bias Inside Us.”  The four-year tour, developed with multiple national advisory councils, Smithsonian colleagues, and content experts from Harvard University is a community engagement effort that raises awareness about the social science and psychology of implicit bias, the impact of this bias and what people can do about it.  Along with a small group of co-curators, Laura shaped the vision for the project and worked on a national level securing funding, resources, international artwork, creating the design and media components including an interactive video, designed the website and recruited educational partners across the country. 

Laura’s commitment to Holocaust education is evident in the work she has done at the JCRC to ensure that Minnesota local Holocaust survivor community’s stories and lessons are preserved. Starting with her own mother, Mary, she is executive producer of the award winning documentary about her family story of survival from Athens, Greece.  She produced a total of five documentaries, co-edited a book, and is published in an anthology called “White Teachers Diverse Classrooms.”  

She is also co-curator of the photographic exhibition “Transfer of Memory” which tells the stories of Minnesota Holocaust survivors. Tens of thousands of people have seen the exhibit and over two million media impressions have been generated. All of this and much more reflects Laura’s vision of teaching the Holocaust. 

Laura began her career as a St. Paul public school teacher where she taught for 15 years. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • The definition of anti-semitism.

  • A brief history lesson on Israel and the geopolitical lens.

  • Recognizing and understanding problematic rhetoric.

  • What ideology are you supporting?

  • The moral confusion around the world.

  • How important it is to educate yourself.

Helpful links and resources:




Understanding and addressing the October 2023 Israel-Hamas War
Recognizing Problematic Rhetoric

The Bias Inside Us Exhibition 

Making Sense with Sam Harris Podcast 

Book Recommendation by Noa Tishby - Israel: The Most Misunderstood Country on Earth

The Free Press


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