I recently returned from the trip of a lifetime. Twenty-five teachers from across the country were chosen to participate in the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance for Teachers’ Program, and I was lucky enough to be one of them. What made this program unique was not just learning about the Holocaust, but traveling to Germany and Poland to see the locations first hand.
At the end of last school year, I spoke with an Academy parent about my upcoming trip. He had visited a former concentration camp a few years ago and at the end of our conversation he said, “You’ll understand what I mean when you get there.” He was right. Visiting the camps and memorials was so emotional and powerful.
Before we departed Newark, the program director, Elaine Culbertson, said her goal was to complicate our thinking. Not only did she complicate my thinking, she also added to it, enriched it, and challenged it by guiding us through seven concentration camps and various Jewish historic sites and memorials in Berlin, Germany, as well as Kraków, Lublin, and Warsaw, Poland. She taught us how to look beyond death, and instead focus on life – to tell the stories.
One of the biggest lessons we learned was about resistance among the prisoners. I really look forward to incorporating the idea of resistance into my lessons, which is something I hadn’t thought about before this trip. I discuss resistance with my 6th grade students when we cover the American Revolution and the Civil War. Having resistance as a theme that I can now priceofcialis.com/cialis-online carry through to their 7th grade is really exciting and will be helpful as we move forward in the curriculum.
While there were many very intense moments on this trip, there were also many times of great joy. Learning alongside like-minded teachers, who are now friends, was invaluable. While there was little down time, when we did find free time, we had the chance to explore the amazing cities of Berlin, Kraków, Lublin, and Warsaw, where I was sure to take lots of pictures with the Circle H!
I want to personally thank Dr. Newman, the Academy’s Board of Trustees, and the Professional Development Committee for awarding me a Trustee Fellowship. In addition, I extend my heartfelt thanks to Diane Brownold and the Evelyne and Frank Bloom Israel Scholarship Fund for providing matching funds to the Trustee Fellowship. Lastly, I am appreciative of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, who annually fund and support this amazing teacher’s program. All of these contributions and personal encouragement made my journey possible.
Ms. Bowman and her “new friends” in front of the Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin, founded in 1930 by Rabbi Yehuda Meyer Shapiro.