Sunday, May 15, 2011

Generational Connections

היום שלשה ועשרים יום שהם שלשה שבועות ושני ימים לעמר
Today is twenty-three days, which is three weeks and two days, of the omer
גבורה שבנצח
A day of strength in a week of perseverance

NOTE: Somehow, this post has migrated out of its place--it was written on Wednesday night, May 11

In my seventh grade Torah study class tonight we studied the Torah parsha, Devarim (Deut 1:1 - 3:22). This parsha starts with Moses giving a recap of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. There is a summary of the incident with the scouts (Num 13:1 - 14:44), resulting in the decree that only the next generation of Israelites will be able to enter the land of Israel.

We talked about the difference between the generations in their relationship with the exodus from Egypt. As part of the discussion, I asked the kids about their connection with the Holocaust. One boy has a grandfather who was able to escape from France through Switzerland--he felt very connection. Other kids felt the historical tie, considering this the most major event in modern Jewish history. Some mentioned the need to "never forget" that this happened to us--that phrasing alone, "to us," showing their connection. But one girl stated she had no connection at all to the Holocaust. She didn't know anyone who was affected, and while she gets that it was terrible, she feels no connection at all.

As I continue on my teaching path, I need to remember that girl. Like it or not, the Holocaust is now a part of Jewish identity. It shaped and changed our people. To honor all those needlessly and horrifically lost, we need to make sure the lessons of that time are learnt by the next generations. As we spoke about in class today:

History is not just about what happens to us 
History is what we do with what happens to us*

*Thanks to G-dcast for giving me the tools to lead this discussion.

No comments: