Lower School Commemorates Yom HaShoah

The Lower School commemoration of Yom HaShoah for grades 2-4 was conducted by our 4th grade students in the chapel on April 19. Emphasis was placed on the positive impact that we can have as human beings, even in the midst of tragedy. Last year, the program included essays in Hebrew written by our 4th graders, from the perspective of the Jewish partisans who fought against the Nazis. There was a particular focus on Hannah Senesch. This year the 4th grade presentation focused on Janusz Korczak, a Polish Jewish educator, children’s author and pediatrician who, after spending many years working as director of an orphanage in Warsaw, refused freedom for himself and accompanied his orphans from the ghetto to Treblinka. Each year, the children light six memorial candles, representing the six million Jewish lives that were lost.

In kindergarten and first grade the children heard age-appropriate literary selections which provided a gentle introduction to the topic. In Kindergarten “The Tattooed Torah” was read to the children, while in first grade an abridged version of “The Number on Grandfather’s Arm” was be read. Teachers in all grades followed up with sensitively guided age-appropriate discussions. Yellow memorial candles were lit and allowed to burn throughout the day.

Most years, the children have an opportunity at recess to walk past the beautiful flowers that bloomed from the bulbs that were planted on Kristallnacht back in November. However, due to our unseasonably warm weather these bulbs have long since blossomed.

For our older students, the school librarians prepared a poster exhibit, depicting some of the historical events in Europe (1930 –1945).