JCHS News

Junior Journey: Thinking about Heroism and Sacrifice

Rabbi Dean Kertesz, Jewish Studies Teacher and co-Dean of Students
Today was a serious day. We visited Yad v'Shem, Israel's Holocaust memorial and research center, and Har Herzl, Israel's national military cemetery.
Today was a serious day. We visited Yad v'Shem, Israel's Holocaust memorial and research center, and Har Herzl, Israel's national military cemetery.

Before we began our day, first at Yad v'Shem, I asked the students to think about how we remember those who died in the Holocaust and why we remember? What is an appropriate memorial and what do each of us take away from a visit like this? How does it impact our lives?
 
We then divided into two groups. One group went through the museum, which describes the history of the Holocaust from Hitler's rise to power until the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. What is unique about this museum is that it asks the visitor to focus on the life of one person as a way to understanding the Holocaust.
 
The second group, made up of those who have been to Yad v'Shem before, toured a number of the places outside the museum: the Grove of the Righteous Among the Nations, which honors non-Jews who saved Jewish lives, Yad l'yeled, the Children's Memorial, Korchak Plaza, the Warsaw Ghetto Plaza, and the resistance fighters memorial. In place, we discussed the meaning of resistance and the many types of resistance Jews practiced during the Holocaust.
 
After Yad v'Shem, we visited Israel's national military cemetery, Har Herzl, which stands next to Yad v'Shem. There our guide shared stories about those buried there who are well known, like Hannah Senesh, Yoni Netanyahu and Dado Elazar as well as personal stories about his friends who have fallen in defense of Israel. Because it was personal it was powerful.
 
We finished our afternoon with a session with Kol Ha'Ot - a group that uses art to process experiences. Our students created small works of art that visually expressed their feelings about the day which all fit together to make a map of Israel.
 
We ended our day with dinner at a traditional Jerusalem restaurant that served a variety of different salads and barbecued meats.
 
A day that begin in sadness, ended in joy.
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Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
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The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.