The fifth-graders at Solomon Schechter Day School in New Milford hosted "The Living Museum: A Celebration of Our Jewish Heritage" last week, lending a palaple poignancy to the evening given the recent arsons at synagogues in Rutherford and Paramus.
Each student acted as curator to a family heirloom about which they explained the history. Contained in each presentation was the understanding that from their past, they will build their future.
One student acknowledged the hardships that his great-grandparents overcame, leaving behind their life in Germany and all their possessions to come to America and start over.
"No matter what happens," he said, "My life is a piece of cake compared to theirs."
This annual event is coordinated by Beryl Bresgi, Librarian and Coordinator of Holocaust Studies at Solomon Schechter. In preparation for this night, each year the fifth grade visits the Museum of Jewish Heritage--A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City right before Thanksgiving, so that during Thanksgiving they can begin to ask their families about heirlooms that have survived and hold special meaning.
"Before we teach the children about the Holocaust, it's important to give them an understanding of what was so that they have a deeper sense of all that was lost in the Holocaust," Bresgi said.
Ricky Stamler-Goldberg, Assistant Principal of the Lower School and Director of Judaic Studies said, "The purpose of the living museum is to acknowledge that each of us is a link in a powerful and ancient chain that has traversed countries and centuries."