September 22, 2018

Tamar ‘Tammy’ Shine: Recorder of Righteous Conversations

As Holocaust survivors age and die, how will younger generations continue their legacy?

One 19-year-old, Tamar “Tammy” Shine, has invested her time in learning about and interacting with local survivors. A 2017 graduate and class valedictorian of Milken Community Schools, Shine is now a freshman at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Over the past seven years, throughout middle school and high school, Shine has been a volunteer with the Remember Us organization’s Righteous Conversations Project, which was created in 2011 to preserve the stories of Holocaust survivors and victims.

“I always felt really connected to that part of my history,” Shine said. “My grandmother’s family lives in London, and they took in children from the Kindertransport.”

Shine, who is from the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, has logged more than 100 hours talking and working with Holocaust survivors.

“I feel it’s really important to spend time with them and document their stories,” she said. “I want to relate to these people. I feel I’ve gained a lot of connection to and loving relationships with people who have these intense stories.”

“I feel I’ve gained a lot of connection to and loving relationships with people who have these intense stories.”

One of those relationships was with Lea Radziner, now 79, a child survivor of the Holocaust whom Shine invited to be her guest at Milken’s graduation lunch.

As part of her volunteer work with the Righteous Conversations Project, Shine designed the artwork for a Jewish Journal advertisement when the project was listed as one of America’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofit projects this year.

“[The design] was actually one of 12 pieces I did for my AP Studio Art class,” Shine said. “And it had an Elie Wiesel quote in it that meant a lot to me.”

That quote: “In the final stage of every equation, of every encounter, the key is responsibility. Whoever says ‘I’ creates the ‘you.’ Such is the trap of every conscience. The ‘I’ signifies both solitude and rejection of solitude.”

And in a serendipitous touch, when Shine went on the March of the Living trip during her senior year, she was one of six students asked to light a candle at Auschwitz alongside Elie Wiesel’s son.

“I always knew I wanted to do March of the Living,” Shine said. “It’s one thing to read or hear or watch videos about it, but it’s not really like the connection you feel when you’re in the place itself.”

In her first year at Wesleyan, Shine said, she has been busy working on gender equality issues on campus and is contributing to food-justice work in the local community.

While she’s still not sure what career she wants to pursue, she currently is focusing on chemistry.

“But I might do a second major in either philosophy or government,” she said. “The school has a science and society program, and I’m hoping to do that to integrate both my science and humanities minds.”