JEC Middle School Remembers

Posted on May 18, 2024

In light of recent current events, Jewish students learning about the Holocaust and its background is more important than ever. This spring, students at JEC Middle School have been deeply immersed in the study of the Holocaust, with each grade focusing on a different aspect.

Sixth grade students focused on individual stories of survivors with whom they had a bond. Unfortunately, none of the students had a living survivor to interview. Those who bore witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust are slowly fading out, placing the burden of remembering on the shoulders of the next generation. The students interviewed the children or grandchildren of survivors instead, learning their incredible stories of survival. They researched the key points of the stories and then used AI technology available on to have the survivors’ stories come to life.

Seventh graders learned about the Kindertransport. They then created fictitious stories about a child who went on the Kindertransport. These poignant stories incorporated what they learned about this difficult time with their own creativity. The authors needed to put themselves in the shoes of both the children and their parents who made the desperate decision to send their children to a foreign land. The students created ebooks telling the story of a child on the Kindertransport.

Eighth graders focused on the Jewish communities that were decimated by the Holocaust. The presentations showed what life in these communities was like before the war, relayed what happened to those who lived there and, finally, what life is like there today. The students then tried to imagine what the communities would have looked like had there been no war. To that end, the students used 3D printing technology to design and create a fictional community that they named Ir HaTikvah V’Hazikaron, City of Hope and Remembrance.

This exceptional unit culminated on Yom HaShoah. The students first presented their work to fellow JEC students during the day, and then shared their work with their parents in the evening in a beautiful and meaningful exhibition. The event began with a student-led reading of Tehillim, and then representatives from each grade explained their work. The event space was filled with parents and grandparents, all taking in the moment with pride and tears.

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