The eighth grade students of Manhattan Day School had the privilege of interviewing Holocaust survivors last week as part of the Names Not Numbers program, a national effort that transforms Holocaust education with its interactive and multi-disciplinary approach.
The eighth graders have been attending weekly, in-school, Holocaust education seminars, and in preparation for the filming, the students also learned interviewing skills, filming techniques, and film editing. Throughout the interview process, they were awed by the testimonies of Mr. Joe Feingold, Ms. Judith Kallman, Ms. Leah Scharf, Mr. George Lindenblatt, Dr. Moshe Avital and Mr. Mike Stolowitsky and deeply inspired by their resilience, emunah, and hope. Through the survivors’ testimonies, the students were able to become witnesses themselves, as Elie Wiesel eloquently states ” to listen to a witness is to become a witness.”
Reflecting on the incredibly moving experience, student Raphaela Levy shared “When I first saw Leah Sharf, the survivor that I interviewed, I was overcome with emotion. As the interview went on and I learned more about her story, I began to understand the holocaust in a different way. Her story inspired me, and has already made an immense impact in my life.”
Towards the end of the week, Head of School Ms. Raizi Chechik spoke to the students about Emunah during the darkest of times, weaving anecdotes from the survivor testimonies the students had heard with study of powerful responsa literature from the ghettos, and primary source readings about holding on to faith and humanity in the abyss. Survivor Dr. Moshe Avital addressed this directly, explaining that it was emunah that gave him the will and strength to keep going.
During the next stage of this project, students will edit the interviews into a final documentary that will be screened at the community screening at Manhattan Day School on May 30th.
Edited by: JV Staff