Sophie’s in the ‘Survivor’

As parents of two passionate Jewish actresses, we are regular readers of the Jewish Standard and the “Noshes” column on Jews in Hollywood. As a follow up to the April 8th edition, we wanted to inform your readership that there are in fact more Jewish actors playing Jewish roles in the upcoming HBO movie “The Survivor.” Our daughter Sophie was honored to play the role of Helene Haft, the daughter of the boxer Harry Haft. As a granddaughter of an Auschwitz survivor herself, it was particularly meaningful to Sophie to participate in telling this important story. Wishing much success to the cast and team of “The Survivor”!

Chavie and Stephen Knapp

New Testament?

By now perhaps others have noticed that last week’s cover photo (April 5) shows a women holding a Bible book that clearly displays “New Testament” in the third Hebrew line. Whether thru oversight or ignorance (I can’t imagine it was purposeful) this is disturbing and disappointing. It is neither Jewish nor much of a Standard for your readers.

Ben Yablok

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The photo was a shot from the Folksbiene’s production of “Harmony.”]

Is it bad teaching your students to pretend to be Nazis?

I read with interest the March 30th news story “The Assignment,” which reported on two high school students who successfully challenged a Holocaust-education assignment of their teacher in Oswego, N.Y., and the writer who dramatized their efforts in a novel that has achieved some acclaim.

The article takes the view that the teacher’s assignment, that students envision themselves as Nazis at the Wannsee Conference, is “morally deadening bad teaching,” and praises the students who contested it and the writer’s depiction of the saga.

As a retired social studies teacher in private and public schools, whose “out of the box” Holocaust-education efforts were periodically challenged by parents and administrators, I’m not so sure that the Oswego HS teacher’s approach was in error, as the reporter asserts.

Regrettably, the story does not include interviews with the teacher involved, his or her principal, parents of students who previously took the lesson, or anyone else with exposure to the lesson; only two students who disliked it. I do not contest that the lesson could have been taught poorly; but it also could have been thoughtfully implemented and very constructive. All we know from the news story is how two dissenting students, a few activists, and one novelist outside the classroom characterized the lesson. It’s truly unfortunate that the reporter did not investigate further.

Joel Glazer

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