by Avi Weschler (’14)

This past Monday, the Names, Not Numbers oral history class had the privilege of going to the Jewish Heritage Museum. Leaving school at 9:15, we began our journey at the museum by traveling back though time to the era of World War II. This beautiful museum, overlooking the Statue of Liberty, is a testament to the vitality of the Jewish people.

The large group of students was split into six smaller ones, each one having their own wonderful guide. The smaller groups enabled us to enrich the experience, as we were all able to get more involved in the tour.

After a hearty lunch of wrap sandwiches, several recovered “ethical wills” from Holocaust victims were handed out. An ethical will is what these people wrote when they saw their own demise looming on the horizon. These ethical wills were varied –from last words to loved ones, to a call for vengeance on behalf of the Jewish people.  Over the next hour, with the insights of our rebbeim Rabbi Cohen and Rabbi Kerner, we had a deep and meaningful discussion about ethical wills. Thank you Mrs. Rosenberg and Dr. Cahn for this exceptional experience.

Later in the week, theNames, Not Numbersstudents listened to a tutorial on interview techniques given by Jeanette Friedman, the editor of the Jewish Link of Bergen County. She is also a freelance editor and writer, and president of The Wordsmithy, a small publishing company specializing in Holocaust survivor memoirs. She has worked on more than 60 Holocaust survivor memoirs and published a number of them. She was also the editor of Lifestyles, which profiled Jewish people of distinction, including Steven Speilberg, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and even Robin Williams, who is not Jewish but made a Holocaust movie called Jacob the Liar.


All the students gained a great deal from both of these experiences.


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