Friday, January 29, 2016

Spotlight on Holocaust Education

The Davis Academy is blessed to have one of the most creative and extraordinary teachers of the Holocaust anywhere in North America. Her name is Samara Schwartz. Today Ms. Schwartz's students participated in an incredibly high level and intense classroom lesson: weighing food.

Using notes recorded in the diary of a young girl living in the Lodz Ghetto, class begins with students weighing out food rations exactly as they appear in the diary. Eventually, the meager rations end up on a table for the students to consider. After some discussion, students read the diary entry in its entirety and Ms. Schwartz guides them through a set of evocative and challenging questions. At the end, students consider what it means to recite Birkat HaMazon (the Jewish "grace after meals"). They also agree to not say to one another, "I'm starving" when they're simply just a little peckish.

Here's a video of the students weighing out the food today. There's a slightly chaotic energy to this part of the experience, by the end, the energy in the room is completely transformed.

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