Elstree’s Ohr Yisrael (Federation) Synagogue and the local Yavneh College have launched a programme to enable Jewish 11-16-year-olds to hear the stories of Holocaust survivors at first hand.
Ohr Yisrael minister Rabbi Raphy Garson believes that while increasing numbers of non-Jewish pupils have the opportunity to hear from survivors through Holocaust educational programmes, Jewish youngsters sometimes miss out.
“As the years tick by, the possibility of learning about the Holocaust from those who experienced its horrors is becoming rarer. It is time for the younger generation also to hear what these people have to say before it is too late.”
He has organised the programme with congregant Rabbi Andrew Davis, Yavneh’s deputy head.
It has already attracted some 80 youngsters from the Hertfordshire area to hear talks by Louis Kleinman, who survived several concentration camps and was liberated on the death march to Dachau; Alec Ward, a survivor of Buchenwald and Mauthausen; and Auschwitz survivor Yisroel Abelesz.
As Rabbi Garson is keen for participants to see the programme as “not just another school event”, the monthly sessions are being held in private homes in the Elstree area.
If the current response rate is maintained, he aims to roll out the programme to more Jewish schools.