Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team

Dr. Scott Sandoval

President of the Board of Directors

Educator and business developer at Vector Solutions

Dr. Luke Berryman

Founder & CEO

Educator and expert in the Holocaust

Sarah Palomo

Founding Board Member

Senior Specialist in diversity at Bain & Company

Sherice Perry

Board Member

Chief of Staff at Values Partnerships & Gauge

Tyler Duke

Board Member

Filmmaker and digital content producer

Both Long

Board Member

Educator and expert in social justice at Brewster Academy

Dr. Aubrey Daniels

Board Member

Assistant Professor at Rutgers University

Our strategic plan

Our strategic plan, published in June 2023, outlines our vision for expanding our services and deepening our impact across the United States over the rest of the decade. You can read it or download it below!

Our story

The Ninth Candle was founded in 2020. We are a collective of content specialists, diversity and inclusion experts, and educators who came together with the shared goal of revolutionizing Holocaust education – by tailoring programs to individual school communities, treating antisemitism as everyone’s problem, and getting away from the aggressive language that overshadows it.

By forming in the belly of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to be adaptable and innovative with our outreach from the start. But our mission struck a chord with teachers, students, and schools, which helped us to grow rapidly in our first two years. Today we are proud to hold our programs all across the United States.

The Ninth Candle was founded in 2020. We are a collective of content specialists, diversity and inclusion experts, and educators who came together with the shared goal of revolutionizing Holocaust education – by customizing programs to individual school communities, treating antisemitism as everyone’s problem, and getting away from all aggressive language.

By forming in the belly of the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to be adaptable and innovative with our outreach from the start. But our mission struck a chord with teachers, students, and schools, which helped us to grow rapidly. Today we are proud to hold our programs all across the United States.

Our story

Our name

Each winter, Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, or the “Festival of Lights,” which lasts for eight days. The celebrations include the lighting of a special, nine-branched version of the Menorah. Being sacred, the Hanukkah Menorah cannot be used to provide light for the temple or the home, and its candles cannot be used to light any of the others. Hence it has an extra candle, called the shammash.

Unlike the other eight candles, the shammash isn’t seen as a sacred part of the festival. Its only purpose is to bring light to the other candles.

By calling ourselves The Ninth Candle, we mean to reflect our practice of drawing on Jewish wisdom and tradition; and to show our belief that people of all faiths and none can explore, participate in, and gain from it.

Our name

Each winter, Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, or the “Festival of Lights,” which lasts for eight days. The celebrations include the lighting of a special, nine-branched version of the Menorah. Being sacred, the Hanukkah Menorah cannot be used to provide light for the temple or the home, and its candles cannot be used to light any of the others. Hence it has an extra candle, called the shammash.

Unlike the other eight candles, the shammash isn’t seen as a sacred part of the festival. Its only purpose is to bring light to the other candles.

By calling ourselves The Ninth Candle, we mean to reflect our practice of drawing on Jewish wisdom and tradition; and to show our belief that people of all faiths and none can explore, participate in, and gain from it.


Merle’s Rule is our diversity, equity, and inclusion policy.

It states that The Ninth Candle will always seek the most diverse possible pool of applicants, for vacancies at Board level and for all roles within the organization. We are also committed to working with and employing people of all faiths and none. 

Antisemitism is a symptom of failing education systems, political divisions, and broken communities. As such, it is everyone’s problem. We can only end it by working together, and by embracing a diverse range of experiences, ideas, and perspectives.

Merle's Rule

Merle's Rule

Merle’s Rule is our diversity, equity, and inclusion policy.

It states that The Ninth Candle will always seek the most diverse possible pool of applicants, for vacancies at Board level and for all roles within the organization. We are also committed to working with and employing people of all faiths and none. 

Antisemitism is a symptom of failing education systems, political divisions, and broken communities. As such, it is everyone’s problem. We can only end it by working together, and by embracing a diverse range of experiences, ideas, and perspectives.

Ten Frequently Asked Questions

Nothing! No matter the type of school, all of our programs are always offered free of charge. 

Both! We do programs over Zoom and in-person, according to the needs of the school or organization concerned.

We offer educational programs to students in grades six-through-twelve. We do not currently offer programs at elementary level.

Our student programs consist of a talk given by an expert in the Holocaust, usually lasting around 40 minutes, with time for Q&A at the end.

We will then provide the school with the materials and resources that students can use to undertake guided research work – the initial talk becomes a platform for a “deep dive” into the subject. 

All our student programs champion inquiry-based learning. This educational method teaches them to discover and assemble historical documents, to think about them critically, and to shape their findings into a coherent historical narrative. Inquiry-based learning helps them to understand why the Holocaust happened in the time and the place that it did. It also helps them to draw connections between past and present, and to see why it’s so important to continue learning about history today.

The Ninth Candle respects teaching as one of the busiest and most demanding careers in the contemporary world. Our professional development programs grow out of that respect. We design them to give our participants a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in a single topic.

We keep our professional development groups small, with the goal of creating the atmosphere of a university seminar – enough participants to enable discussion and debate, but not so many that anyone’s voice gets lost. Together, we take deep dives into the hardest questions about the Holocaust. As well as creating classroom materials from historical sources, we hear from a range of exciting guest speakers, and there is always time for open Q&A too.

Everyone who participates in our programs comes away with their own set of teaching materials tailored to the needs of their school and local community. 

As well as leaving with new ideas and materials for teaching the Holocaust and certified professional development hours, all teachers receive a certificate of participation.

Please reach out to us on info@theninthcandle.com, or on 312-620-6025 to start the process of building your school’s educational program!

Please reach out to us on info@theninthcandle.com, or on 312-620-6025 to start the process of building your school’s professional development program!

You may also wish to apply to our 2023-24 Holocaust Education Leadership Academy, a year-long, nationwide (virtual) professional development program. The application process will open on this website on April 1st, 2023.

No! We are unique for the extent to which we collaborate with educators to tailor every program we do to every school that we visit. 

The Ninth Candle welcomes all sorts of support from many corners of the United States. If you think that you can help us to fulfill our mission, please take a look at the Partner With Us page to get started. 

We would love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out to us with any other questions on <info@theninthcandle.com>, or on 312-620-6025.