June 20, 2024
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MDS Eighth Graders Participate In “Names, Not Numbers©”

Transmitting legacy is a core tenant of the Manhattan Day School education, and “Names Not Numbers©” is a foundational tool in that transmission.

Created by Tova Fish-Rosenberg, the “Names, Not Numbers©” program provides a powerful and intimate way for students to learn about the stories of Holocaust survivors while also honing useful journalism and video editing skills. This program is implemented in conjunction with the MDS eighth grade Holocaust curriculum, during which students learn the history of the Holocaust and develop a deeper understanding of survivor experiences.

On Friday, November 5, MDS eighth graders were introduced to the “Names, Not Numbers©” program. The opening program began with inspiring words from Head of School Raizi Chechik, followed by remarks from Fish-Rosenberg, founder of the “Names, Not Numbers©” program. “As Eli Wiesel famously stated, ‘to listen to a witness, is to become a witness,’ and you are among the last generation hearing testimony directly from survivors,” commented Chechik.

In addition to Holocaust education, the “Names, Not Numbers©” program aims to develop journalism and videography skills. Students learn the importance of asking open-ended questions and creating a rapport with their interviewees in order to gain the most out of their interviews. Students are responsible for videoing and editing film under direct tutelage from professional videographers. Ultimately, their documentary, filled with first hand testimonials, is placed in the Yad Vashem Archives. Students watched an emotional exemplar interview with survivor Dr. Moshe Avital, ob”m, a former interviewee at Manhattan Day School and a world-renowned author and scholar. Students analyzed the interview and had the opportunity to hear from eighth grade parent Lisa Cabrera-Scharf, former journalist/news anchor with Fox. Cabrera-Scharf shared key tips and insights for interview preparation, and even had two students join her for a practice experience. “It was enlightening to learn interview skills from a professional journalist and watch those skills being used to emote specific emotions during Dr. Moshe Avital’s interview. This introduction made me feel empowered and confident to begin this process,” said Ilana H., MDS eighth grade student.

The eighth graders left the session feeling deeply moved, inspired and motivated to pour their passion and effort into this project. They will continue their Holocaust education and prepare for their interviews which will take place in January.

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