Ilyse Muser Shainbrown lives in Livingston, NJ with her husband and 3 school-age sons. After teaching middle and high school history for many years, she has just completed an additional Master’s degree in Holocaust and Genocide studies. Currently, she works for the Jewish Federation at Greater MetroWest as the Educational and Cultural Liaison to Newark. While most of her time outside of work is spent driving carpools and volunteering at her sons’ school, she also loves reading and traveling – wherever and whenever she can.
Dear Larry David:
I want to be brutally honest with you today. It is my hope that you listen to my honesty and appreciate that while you are an expert in comedy and satire — you’ve been making…me laugh for decades — I am an expert in Holocaust education. It’s what I do. On Saturday night, your “Saturday Night Live” monologue — in which you wonder aloud if you would hit on women prisoners in a concentration camp — made my job infinitely harder to do. You see, Mr. David, it is not… >> Read More
I recently spent 4 hours in the Hamburg airport, while I awaited my connecting flight to Budapest.
During my late teens and 20s, I spent many hours passing through train stations and airports…throughout Europe; back then, this would have been a normal few hours for me. Yet in the weeks leading up to my first solo trip in almost 18 years, I had been filled with anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I have traveled extensively since my single days, but it has always been with either my… >> Read More
Last week, I found myself taking 45 middle schoolers on a four-hour bus ride to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. While they were certainly struck as they walked through the train car on…display that shuttled millions to their deaths and moved to tears as they gazed upon the pictures of a lost Jewish community in Eastern Europe, I didn’t realize that the real lesson would come the next day, back in New Jersey. Let me back up. This past September, I began a new venture at the… >> Read More
May has set in, spring is in full swing, and my deadline has arrived—it's that time again—“getting ready for camp” season. In less then two months, two of my three boys will leave for seven…weeks of bliss at overnight summer camp. I absolutely love that my children are headed to camp. I love that my oldest has spent two summers in what he describes as "the only place better then Disney World," and that my middle son absolutely cannot wait to join his brother at camp. But there is… >> Read More
Here in New Jersey we always pay great homage to our homegrown rock star greats—Springsteen and Bon Jovi just to name a few. What makes us love them so much is not just that they are truly amazing,…but that they love New Jersey and their roots just as much as we love claiming them as our own. We have fierce Jersey pride, and so do they. I’ve never been shy about my roots on personal level, continuously involving myself in my children’s school and my synagogue. On a professional level, though, it’s… >> Read More
The first nine years of my life as a mom centered on my boys’ Jewish preschool at our synagogue. As a new stay-at-home mom of a 2-year-old already toting a newborn on my hip, I was an easy target…for the "powers that be" in the PTA to join their ranks. And join I certainly did, from chairing preschool Shabbat dinners to organizing pizza and bagel lunch for the students to putting together the book fair. From early on, I found it easy to immerse myself in their school, filling my days with whatever… >> Read More
Growing up in a 1980s Jewish suburb of New York City, my parents taught me a great deal about the Holocaust, without any hesitations. They did not shield my brothers and I at all from the gruesome…and horrific details of the Shoah. This included their still very tainted opinions of Germans. I, too, from an early age, swore to “never buy a German car,” and I’d jump out of my skin when I heard a German accent, my arms nearly rising into the air from reflex and fear. READ: The Nanny… >> Read More
As a mother, I have always tended to shelter my children and keep secret from them the horrors that exist in the world. As an educator, a historian, and Holocaust and genocide expert, I will tell…anyone about the multitude of books they should read, the abundance of articles they need to sift through, and the programs, museums, and speaking engagements they should attend to learn about tolerance and understanding. This is clearly a conflict. >> Read More