The eighth-grade girls had an amazing experience February 22–24. Divided into groups, they had the opportunity to interview Holocaust survivors. Under the direction of Morah Eisenberg, the girls prepared extensively for these interviews. They studied their assigned survivor’s bio and used it to prepare questions about his or her memories from before, during, and after the war. The experience was one the girls are not likely to forget.
As each survivor entered the building, he or she was greeted by the girls. The interactions were wonderful. One of the highlights of the program was the intergenerational component. Seeing the faces of the survivors light up and seeing the girls’ faces respond in kind was nothing short of magical. The survivor was escorted upstairs to the library, where the actual interviews were conducted.
The HANC library was turned into a set complete with video, sound, and light equipment. Each student took turns in the roles of interviewer, sound and video recorder, and observer. The students were trained and directed by the Names, Not Numbers production crew. Thanks to Daniella, Jay, and Marly for all of their hard work with the project.
The interviews themselves were most memorable. There were so many poignant moments. Everyone will have to wait until the video comes out with the interviews, but suffice it to say that there were tears and even some laughter.
Other components of the three days included a session on emunah and a session on editing. The session on emunah was given by Rabbi Selengut, a rebbe in the HANC high school. The girls were mesmerized by his stories. One such story described the Bluzhever Rebbe, who was walking with another man. They came to a wide hole and the SS guard told them they had to jump over it. It seemed impossible but they both jumped and made it. After they got over the hole, the man asked the Rebbe what the Rebbe was thinking that helped him have the strength to jump over the hole. The Rebbe said that he thought of his father and grandfather and he “held on to their coattails” and jumped over. The Rebbe then asked the man what he had been thinking when he jumped over the hole, and the man said that he was thinking that he was holding onto the coattails of the Rebbe.
The final piece of the week was a session given by Mrs. Tova Rosenberg, the creator of the program, who taught the students how to edit their interviews. The students were moved and look forward to working on their edits. Special hakarat ha’tov to Mr. Dov Rosenberg and Mrs. Tova Rosenberg for all of their help in making this week so very special for the students.