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Two years ago, AYA High School began the practice of assigning a book for all 9-12th grade faculty, staff, and students to read over the summer. Our goal is to spark cross-curricular lessons, collaboration and set a theme for the year. Also, the book should provide discussion points between students at different grade levels, teachers and students, and Judaic and general studies teachers.

The Upstander: How Surviving the Holocaust Sparked Max Glauben's Mission to Dismantle Hate

This year, we will explore the question, “How can we be upstanders?” The theme of BEING AN UPSTANDER will be woven into our classwork, our discussions, our community work, and our individual journeys. To begin this inquiry, our summer reading is Max Glauben’s memoir The Upstander by AYA graduate Jori Epstein. (link for purchase)

Max was an inspiration to the Akiba Yavneh community, the Dallas Jewish community and the world at large. Throughout the last 20 years, Max traveled countless times to Poland with our students through the March of the Living. Alum Jori Epstein (Class of 2012) developed a close friendship with Max on their trip, and she later chronicled his story as a Holocaust survivor in The Upstander. Max leaves a legacy of love, Jewish pride, and compassion that empowers us all to dedicate our lives to fighting hate and intolerance.

May his memory be a blessing for us all.

Holocaust Survivor Max Glauben

Max Glauben zt"l — April 12, 2022


As you read the book, annotate for quotes that impact and move you most. In journal entry OR chart form, address the following prompt: 

What are five personal moments in your life when you had the opportunity to be an upstander (i.e. bullying). Describe the situation. Were you able to stand up to the task? Why or why not? How did it feel? How would Max hope for you to respond? Select quotes in the book to support your personal reflection.

Journal Entry

You may handwrite or type your reflections. Each entry should use at least one quote from the book with page numbers. Answer all questions in the prompt. 

Chart Reflection

If you choose to use a chart, here is one set-up option.

Describe the moment How did you handle it? How did you feel? Quote(s) from book What would Max want you to do?


Due Monday, Aug 28

This is due and will be used in every class on Monday, August 28.

It is the first step in your journey to determine all the ways you will support and advocate for others who cannot advocate for themselves!