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Jewish Community Center Fieldtrip

Fun on the bus

Mr. Adams’s and Ms. Williams’s English II classes went on a field trip to the Levine Jewish Community Center in Charlotte on Wednesday, March 4th. The trip was planned in conjunction with the Night/Holocaust/Genocide unit that is covered in English II each year. The trip served as an extension and enrichment activity so that students could make a personal connection to those who have been victims of the holocaust and other genocidal events.
Students first heard from a holocaust survivor, Mr. Irving Bienstock, who told his story of how he narrowly escaped to America before the full extent of Hitler’s final solution was implemented. He also answered questions and told about his life in America. He eventually joined the U.S. Army and return to Europe to help take back Italy from the Fascist powers.
Then, students were split into two groups. One group spent a session with Dana Kapustin where they discussed the Pyramid of Hate, other holocaust survivors’ stories, and how both could be applied to each of them being able to take a personal stand to stop hate in our world today. The other group painted ceramic butterflies for the Margaret and Lou Schwartz Butterfly Garden. Each student was given the name of one of the 1.5 million children who were murdered during the holocaust and were asked to paint their butterfly in remembrance of that child. The butterflies will eventually be added to the butterfly sculpture that stands at the entrance to the Jewish Community Center. After they completed their butterflies, students were able to tour the sculpture and write a brief personal reflection about their experience. After the first session, the groups switched sessions so that all students participated in both parts of these workshops.
The final part of the field trip was spent in two separate sessions that involved using the events of the holocaust to lead to discussions about how stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination can lead to genocidal events such as the holocaust. The time in each session was spent in small groups with students examining present day examples of stereotyping and prejudice, and they were asked to take a personal stand on each of these scenarios. Then, they were asked to share their responses with their small group as well as the entire group. These discussions led to students personally examining their attitudes toward other groups of people based on their race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.

Written by: Tim Adams
Posted: Mar 16, 2015 by Mandy Bell

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