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Mountain States Spotlight with Jerry Pinsker

  • March 31, 2014

Jerry Pinsker shares his love of ADL and his passion for education with us in this month’s Mountain States Spotlight.


How did you first become involved in ADL?  My first contact with ADL was back in the late 1970s when I sought advice on a pending lawsuit I was filing against the Aurora Public Schools over a lack of religious leave days.  Upon retiring from public school teaching in 2002 I became involved as a founding member of the Boulder Steering Committee.  Today, I am a trainer for the World of Difference Institute®, a volunteer liaison for ADL’s No Place for Hate® program at four Boulder Valley Schools, a member of the Education Committee and the Chair of the Boulder Steering Committee.


What do you do in your professional life? I was a public school educator at the middle level for 31 years, teaching Math, Science, and Social Studies.  I was also a Middle School Counselor.  After retiring I became involved with the Boulder JCC and am currently the Facilities Director.


What did you want to be when you grew up?  I actually received a degree in Electrical Engineering.  As a child I always wanted to work with electricity.  It wasn’t until my senior year in college while working a part time job in a public high school in the Bronx that I fell in love with teaching. My engineering background was a wonderful asset for teaching math and science.


Where were you born? From where do your ancestors hail?  I was born in the Bronx, New York.  My mother was born in Kiev, Ukraine and my father was born in Brooklyn.  My paternal great-grandfather immigrated to the US from Pinsk, Belarus (or Poland depending on the year).  After my mother passed away and we were cleaning up her apartment I discovered a document from my maternal grandfather (for whom I am named) dated 1911 in which US immigration forced him to denounce his allegiance to “Tsar Nicolas the II, Tsar of all the Russias.”  I found it fascinating.


What are you passionate about personally? What can’t you stop talking about?  I am very passionate about education, particularly K-12 public school education.  This country has evolved into the great nation it is as a result of free public education for all.  With that said I am constantly talking and lobbying for adequate funding for our K-12 public system.  One of the reasons I love being a World of Difference Institute trainer as well as a volunteer liaison is the interaction I have with students – particularly middle school students – and the joy of seeing their passion and creativity.   I have experienced the damage bullying behavior does to a school climate and also see how it changes when students, through our No Place for Hate program, decide to challenge this behavior and become allies to those who are bullied and confronters to those who bully.   I have also seen how quickly the old behaviors return if the program is cut, usually due to a lack of funding.



How do you envision ADL’s Centennial Theme Imagine a World Without Hate?   In my view, all of ADL’s activities work toward envisioning A World Without Hate.  However, ADL has two programs that, to me, encompass this vision at its best.  Our No Place for Hate program empowers young people with the skills to create a future in which hate is not acceptable, in a world where we respect each other and embrace our differences and seek out similarities.  Our Confronting Anti-Semitism program provides members of the Jewish community with the skills to not only confront anti-Semitism, but more importantly, to educate those who have a lack of understanding of the impact of stereotypes and prejudice towards not just Jews but all people.