Have you ever felt like a fish who jumped out of the water so you could describe water to a human? Our middle school students had the opportunity to do something similar yesterday: explain what it means to be Jewish to their peers from Christ Community Lutheran School.
Yesterday wasYom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, and our middle school students shared the day with new friends. Our guests prepared for the visit by watching Paper Clips, reading Number the Stars and writing poetry about the Holocaust that they presented to us on decorated large posters as a gift.
After a beautiful explanatory t’fillah, a book discussion, an interview with a holocaust survivor (on video) and another with a child of holocaust survivors (Morah Aura), our students answered questions about their Jewish traditions:
“What are some Jewish holidays we haven’t heard about?” one student asked. “What’s that thing the rabbi wrapped during services?” Unlikely Mirowitz students volunteered to respond, and one could hear them thinking through their answers as they spoke, never having articulated descriptions of these things that they take for granted as parts of their Jewish experience. The students rose to a level of sophistication with their answers and their active listening.
The take-aways? For one thing, our students strengthened their understanding of their own Jewish identities and were able to practice articulating what it means to be and do Jewish. They also learned that when a person’s identity is important to them, that person develops a curiosity about the identity of others, helping to build bridges based on dialogue and deep respect.
Kol Hakavod (great job) to Dr. Duncan and our talented middle school faculty for helping our students see that they are taking part in the repair of something still broken in the world. Indeed, that’s what makes Mirowitz unique!