Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Never Again?

היום שנים ועשרים יום שהם שלשה שבועות ויום אחד בעמר
Today is twenty-two days, which is three weeks and one day of the omer
חסד שבנצח
A day of loving-kindness in a week of perseverance

Last week, a young teacher at the synagogue school where I teach, found out that I was teaching a  course on the Holocaust and offered any assistance I might need. He's taught the Holocaust before, he said. I thanked him, said I would keep it in mind.

Today at school during our dinner time, the teachers were gathered at one table and we got on the subject of Holocaust literature, since another teacher is taking a class on the subject. The same teacher who offered me help last week said that he didn't like to read Elie Wiesel. I asked why. He explained that there's just too much emotion. He can deal with the history, but reading the personal story made him too uncomfortable.

This floors me. How can you teach Holocaust without emotion, without feeling "uncomfortable." I know that it is important to get my students to that place, albeit in a safe environment of support. I need them to feel what happened in order to understand what happened, and why it cannot happen again. It's hard enough to reach this generation about the importance of this time, these events, to us as Jews and as citizens of the world. Knowing there are these kinds of teachers who will just teach the facts without making the emotional connection that is needed to touch the hearts and souls of these kids worries and upsets me. How will they even get close to understanding how and why this happened and why we must work to fulfill the promise of "Never Again."

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