Wishes for 2018
Looking back over 2017 we are grateful to everyone who has encouraged and supported us in bringing our Remembrance Journey experience to hundreds of NJ students this past year.
At this time of reflection, when it seems that American culture has lost the ability to engage in constructive conversation, I would like to share a positive story of hope.
Last month, on one of our Remembrance Journeys, I watched in amazement as two students from different schools worked through a charged conversation at the end of the day. This particular trip, funded by a Gottesman grant for Jewish Culture and Education in Newark, brought students together from the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, NJ, and students from Science Park High School in Newark, NJ.
After experiencing the US Holocaust Memorial Museum together, we went to the Lincoln Memorial where we read the Gettysburg Address, and formed a circle to reflect on the impact of the day. Some students spoke about the victims of the Holocaust, others about slavery, and some about the importance of being Upstanders – standing up for those not able to stand up for themselves. A Kushner student spoke enthusiastically about Lincoln's role in freeing the slaves. To this, a Science Park student responded politely but firmly that Lincoln was a reluctant liberator with regard to slavery. It was a moment of intensity and curiosity. A deep conversation ensued.
As we walked back to the bus which would take us to the Martin Luther King Memorial, it was evident that we had come together as a more cohesive group with a greater understanding of how others see the world. It was a moment that will always remain with the two young women who respectfully stood up for their beliefs while remaining open to the worldview of the other. Certainly, it was a moment that I, and many of the students and teachers, will not forget.
Again, we want to thank you all for taking an interest in what we do and for supporting us in the past. Please consider what you can contribute today to bring these experiences to students in 2018 who would not otherwise have this opportunity.
May the holidays and the coming year bring us renewal and hope for a future of building bridges and of understanding and community.
Morris Rubell Holocaust Remembrance Journeys