A Communal Project of Yad Layeled Museum
Ghetto Fighters' House and schools in Israel and Overseas
Yad Layeled, the educational memorial site at the Ghetto Fighters' House that commemorates the Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust, has initiated a unique project that is based on Israeli students and students from other countries working together on the subject of the Holocaust.
The project was carried out successfully this year in 20 Israeli schools and 20 American schools and many students (in grades 7 – 8) took part in it. The boys and girls read a book about children of their age who lived during the Holocaust, and exchanged their opinions, ideas and thoughts on the book. While working together in this way over a period of time the students examined their attitude to the Holocaust and its influence on them as Jews, Israelis and Americans.
The project included the joint reading of The Sand Game or The Island on Bird Street by the author Uri Orlev. We chose Uri Orlev, who went through the Holocaust in Poland as a child because we greatly esteem his books, as do many others. Uri Orlev has won many prizes for his writing, the most important being the Andersen Prize for Children's Literature in 1996.
After reading the book in class there was a learning process in small groups, which included the selection of relevant passages and discussing them. A similar process took place simultaneously in the partner class abroad. After the groups in Israel and overseas had discussions in their classrooms, there were discussions of the selected passages via the Internet.
The final project for this activity included the preparation of a communal group journal which contained the computerized discussions between the groups in Israel and abroad. Each group also prepared a cover page or computer presentation for its work. The group journal could be expanded to include research on the subject, interviews with survivors, pictures or documents from the Ghetto Fighters' House archives, etc.
The project is directed by a member of the Yad Layeled staff and is accompanied by a teacher's guide that was written especially for this project.
The reading project can be expanded in a number of directions:
- class visits to Yad Layeled,
- a joint parent-children activity,
- writing individual papers,
- expanding the program to a general yearly Bar Mitzvah program that focuses on how the Bar Mitzvah children during the Holocaust coped with their situation.
The project is supported by an exciting Internet site which contains a teachers' workshop with a teachers' guide, a students' workshop with the addresses of all the schools taking part in the project and a forum for corresponding, a history workshop with study chapters, concepts and testimonies. There is also a gallery for exhibiting the students' works.
The site was opened in 1999 and is called The Janusz Korczak Virtual School (the site also contains study chapters about Janusz Korczak – the writer, educator and intellectual who perished with his students in Treblinka).
Varda Shif, Project Coordinator - Israel
Tel Yad Layeled: 972-4-9958044
Beth Dotan, Project Coordinator- USA
Tel Omaha: 402-333-1303