On February 21st, Dr. Zelnick’s father, Serge Zelnick, came by Nogales to talk over to 600 students about his struggles growing up as a Jew after the Holocaust.
Despite the rumors that were spreading about him being in a concentration camp and escaping, he clarified that he was not a part of that. Instead he spoke about growing up while experiencing antisemitism and prejudice against Jews.
He also talked about Jewish culture, traditions and some history background to help the audience follow along and have a better understanding of his religion.
During the Q&A section of the assembly, a student asked how he felt about antisemitism rising, he explained “There are people out there who still feel how the Nazis felt and that makes being a Jew a lot harder because we are a minority.”
When Mr. Zelnick was a child of 4 living in Cairo, Egypt in 1947. Kids would throw rocks at him because he was Jewish. His family fled the country. He has also traveled to and lived in four different countries including Italy, Australia, and Canada before settling in Los Angeles, California
Mr. Zelnick initially had to move from Egypt because the Nazis were very close to where they lived in Cairo. Eventually his family landed in Montreal, Canada, but his family had to move to another region because his teacher purposely failed him and all the other Jews in the class.
His storytelling journey all began when he used to drop by Dr. Zelnick’s class and share his culture and religion with her students around the time of the passover.
His stories grew as he did his reputation as a passionate presenter. When he was asked if he would like to speak to a larger audience he expressed, “I wasn’t sure that people would like it.”
As students listened and appreciated hundreds of his words of wisdom. An AP Lang junior, Jacky Jeronimo appreciated his words, “Thank you for sharing such an important story. You are a wonderful human being for taking the time and telling us about your life.I have learned to appreciate the people in my life more because of your message.”