In memory of Jack Needle
Jack Needle was a Founder, Director, and Educator at Chhange for all of its 40 years.
Chhange began as a Lunch and Learn series developed by Jack and his colleague, Seymour (Sy) Siegler, Ed.D. Responding to a $200 grant proposal offered by Brookdale Community College to its faculty, Jack and Sy initiated a 4-part series featuring oral testimony by local Holocaust survivor Arno Penzias (Nobel Prize winner). Thus, Jack and Sy set the stage for the overarching educational focus of Chhange: the human story behind genocide.
With a standing-room-only audience at Lunch and Learn, Norma Klein, Dean of Brookdale Community College Community Development, invited Jack and Sy to found the Center for Holocaust Studies under her division at the College. On May 16, 1979, the opening ceremony was held for the first Holocaust studies center in New Jersey, now known as Chhange. Today, the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education annually serves over 25,000 students, educators, and community members throughout New Jersey.
Professor Jack Needle and Dr. Sy Siegler were leaders in the field of Holocaust Education from its earliest days. They represented Chhange at the founding meeting of the Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO) and continued to serve as leadership and presenters at many AHO conferences and seminars. Today the AHO is recognized worldwide for its leadership in Holocaust education with over 350 member organizations.
Throughout his highly successful career, Jack was foremost a brilliant historian and educator. Jack taught at Red Bank Regional High School for 16 years and at Brookdale Community College for 34 years. The Alumni Association of each institution honored him: RBRHS Hall of Fame in 2004 and the BCC Barringer Award in 1990. Jack’s academic achievements were many as well: Jack earned his AB at Northeastern University and his AMT at Harvard University. Additionally he received fellowships and scholarships to Oxford University, Princeton University, SUNY at Stony Brook, University of Chicago, University of Jordan (Amman), Yad Vashem (Jerusalem) and Robert A. Taft Institute of Government (Eagleton Institute).
Among Jack’s academic and professional awards are: New Jersey Senate Resolution and Commendation, U.S. House of Representatives Citation, Second Annual BCC Outstanding Faculty Award, Distinguished Service Award (ECCSSA), Hannah G. Solomon Award (Hadassah), Alvin Bedroshian Award, and several citizenship awards from the Jewish War Veterans of the United States.
When Jack formally retired from Brookdale Community College, he continued to be a force in community education. To help others continue life-long learning, Jack originated Tour and Talk, a day-trip program in Brookdale’s Continuing & Professional Services division. His knowledge, talent, and reputation as tour director grew Tour and Talk to as many as 26 trips each semester, serving thousands of Monmouth County residents over the years.
Jack was a member of the Monmouth Arts Foundation and the Democratic Clubs of Fair Haven and Shadow Lake Village. Jack was an active member of Congregation B’nai Israel, Rumson, NJ, serving as educator, Chairman of the Board of Education, and member of the Adult Education Committee.
The Board of Directors, Staff, and Volunteers of Chhange extends condolences to Jack’s devoted wife Barbara, daughter Marcia Listo (Joe), son Jesse Needle (Rona Lissak) and granddaughter Tessa Nicole.
Jack expressed appreciation to family, friends, colleagues, students and all who have made his life journey so rewarding and fulfilling. To those he failed, he expresses his sincere regrets.
Jack’s memory will forever be a blessing for Chhange, for all who loved him, and for the thousands of young and old individuals who learned from him. His positive impact on our world will be felt for generations.
If you wish, you may honor Jack with a donation to Chhange online or by calling 732-224-1889.