July 25, 2024
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RYNJ Eighth Grade Boys Delve Into Holocaust Study

“How did the Jewish fighters of the Warsaw ghetto last for almost an entire month?;” “Did anyone ever try to kill Hitler?;” “Can you imagine—this man lived through the war hidden in a fake casket, buried in the cemetery?!” These questions and comments were some which could be heard inside the RYNJ eighth grade boys’ classes throughout the month of May. Starting on Yom HaShoah, and continuing until Shavuot, the boys learned about the Holocaust through reading, art and inquiry.

As a class, the students read “Night,” by Elie Wiesel. “This was one of the most powerful books I have ever read,” one student commented, “With every choice Elie made, I found myself getting nervous about whether it was a good one or a bad one.” Through the story, students were able to discuss their questions, fears and misunderstandings about what happened in Auschwitz and other camps.

Simultaneously, the students read a Holocaust-themed novel or nonfiction book, independently, wrote responses and created a work of art, music, poetry or writing to encapsulate the book’s theme or emotional message.

Finally, the RYNJ students chose an inquiry topic using the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. Each student created an online poster with copious information on topics such as: some were our neighbors—stories of betrayal, Jewish rebellion and Nazi war crimes trials.

The Holocaust unit was extremely meaningful to the eighth graders, one of whom said, “This was a chance for me to ask all of my questions, even if they were detailed or scary; I got answers and got to talk about my feelings.” It was a unit that definitely left an indelible impression on our RYNJ boys.

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