by George J Elbaum
This is the third year of The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) program of student tours organized around a current exhibit and paired with talks by Holocaust survivors arranged by the Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS). These talks offer the students a unique opportunity to connect art, architecture, and history, to humanize historical events and cultivate empathy and to strengthen links between past and present, and it is the 4th time that I have spoken as part of this program.
The CJM current tour and talk, Resilience, Holocaust, and the Architecture of Life, asks the question: “How do we move forward from the past while vowing to never forget?” The architecture of The CJM is a testament to history and resilience: it is a celebration of life and strength designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, a child of Holocaust survivors, with deeply embedded Jewish symbolism and meaning. A first-hand testimony by a Holocaust survivor (me on this day) is at the heart of this 2 ½ hour Museum experience, which includes an exploration of the symbolism of The CJM’s architecture through the lens of resilience and artistic reflection.
Today’s participants were 8th grade students from the Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City, CA, led by teacher Chelsea Mandell. After my talk, The CJM’s educators led the students on an exploration of the new exhibition Show Me as I Want to Be Seen. Today’s event was organized by Cara Buchalter, CJM School Programs Manager, supported by Luz Brown, CJM Technician, and my participation was arranged by JFCS’s Program Coordinator, Adrian Schrek and Nikki Bambauer. Attending also were Lisa Rosenberg and Ron Glait, CJM Educators.