Saturday, April 20, 2002

Jewish tragedy remembered in student exhibit




By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer contributor

        SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP — Faces of Jewish children in photographs taken before and during the Holocaust convey both sadness and hope in a memorial created by sixth-graders at Yavneh Day School.

        “We were children just like you, the pride and promise of flourishing communities,” is a phrase posted at the beginning of the memorial.

        A core group of 16 students, led by Batya Kaufman, Yavneh Hebrew and Judaic studies teacher, worked on the memorial for two weeks as part of their Holocaust history curriculum.

        Set in part along a flight of steps, the memorial lighting is shrouded in black paper. Stair railings adorned with pipe cleaners, which represent barbed wire, lead viewers toward a nearly 10-foot backlit Star of David.

        Many of the photographs — some on loan from Hebrew Union College and others culled from history books — have biographical information about their subject.

        One reads: “Polish children imprisoned in Auschwitz look out from behind the barbed wire fence. July 1944.”

        The memorial concludes in a room created to look like a World War II Jewish ghetto.

        “It shows that the Jews, before the war, actually had lives,” said Orly Amor, 11, of Pleasant Ridge. “After the war — it just crushed (them). Their lives were pretty much gone.”

        The exhibit was finished April 9, Yom Hashoah, the day of Holocaust remembrance.

        The students who created the memorial led fellow students at the preschool-to-eighth-grade school through the exhibit.

        Ms. Kaufman said that many parents and teachers have told her that the memorial should be left up permanently.

        The memorial can be viewed Monday through Friday by appointment only through Friday April 26 at the school, 8401 Montgomery Road. Call 984-3770.
       

       



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