The Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford got a vote of confidence in its plans for Holocaust education, as the Covenant Foundation awarded it a $20,000 grant.
The grant, to finance Schechter’s new multimedia-based Holocaust curriculum, was one of only eight “ignition” grants that Covenant gave for innovative projects in Jewish Education.
It follows a major gift announced last year from Beth and Freddie Kotek, whose children attended Schechter. That donation is making possible the creation of a multimedia Holocaust resource center within the school’s library. Those renovations are scheduled to take place over the summer.
The new middle school curriculum will combine teaching the facts about the Holocaust with the skills of digital storytelling.
“Students will learn about the Holocaust and the history behind Eastern European Jewry through first-person testimonials,” said Amy Glazer, the school’s director of institutional advancement
“Eventually they will be taught to make their own documentary film utilizing either the resources available online through IWitness” – a collection of 1,300 survivor interviews digitized by the University of Southern California – “or by doing their own interviews with survivors and second generation.”
This, Ms. Glazer said, ties into the schools goal of “inquiry-based learning.”
Among the subjects the curriculum will bring into the Holocaust study is music. Students will study radio – the communications technology of the era – and listen to news and music broadcasts from the period. They will also learn digital mixing technology, and put it all to use when preparing the soundtracks for their films.