Book Prompts Visit to Jewish Museum

Ms. Smith and Ms. Barrish’s 7th grade English classes traveled to the Museum of Jewish Heritage on February 4 to help give context to The Cage, a novel they read as part of their course. In Ruth Minsky Sender’s memoir, the author describes her childhood experience in Poland in 1939 during World War II. A brave young girl, Riva, was forced out of her home and into the Lodz ghetto. As the war progressed, Riva was relocated to Auschwitz where she spent her teen years. At the end of the war, Riva survived and wrote this memoir to share her story with the world.

At the Museum of Jewish Heritage, students learned about various aspects of the Holocaust. They viewed Nazi artifacts, including board games, Hitler Youth children’s books, concentration camp uniforms, and identification cards. In addition, the class viewed filmed interviews with survivors who shared their stories about life in labor and concentration camps, like Riva.

Students were moved by the harsh images and memorabilia in the museum. “Seeing the actual footage of Hitler speaking to millions of Germans and Jews was a great experience because now I have a picture painted in my mind of who Hitler actually was,” said class member James. Jacob said, “I thought it was a cool experience and a little hard to process.”

“I was fascinated by the booklets of people’s stories,” Said Simone. “I wish we had more time to look at them because they showed me exactly what was lost during this horrible time.”

After the museum visit, the class strolled along the Hudson River to see the Statue of Liberty. We discussed our freedoms and personal dreams. The trip ended with a group lunch at a local pizza parlor and topped off with treats at Dunkin Donuts.