by George J Elbaum
Temple De Hirsch and Temple B’nai Torah jointly conduct a weekly program of meetings for 8th grade and high school students to study and discuss global, social, and personal subjects which are important to students’ growth. These subjects include individual & collective responsibility in society, self-introspection (where am I in the world & in my world), history and implications of the Holocaust, and others. I spoke to a group of 8th graders being taught by Rabbi Aaron Meyer of Temple De Hirsch and Joe Dover of Temple B’nai Torah, who together with Shelly Goldman arranged my talk.
Having given my presentation about 3 dozen times, most of the questions asked during Q&A have been asked in some previous session, so it is always surprising and gratifying to get a deep and truly meaningful question for the first time, especially from a middle-school audience. It happened during this session when, after describing that I was saved by Polish Catholic families who hid me at the risk of their own lives, I posed the following challenge to the students: “Ask yourself now and also in the future, answering only to yourself, what would you do if you saw someone being a victim of injustice and persecution and you could save them but only at serious risk to yourself.” During the Q&A one of the students asked me: “What would you do?” (See Student Questions for my reply.)