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Yad LaYeled Offers New Programs for 2012-13

With the launch of the 2012-2013 school year, Yad LaYeled is offering a variety of new programs for schools. In addition to its activity based on the permanent exhibitions, new educational programs were developed in cooperation with Yediot Aharonot, theater companies – Nephesh Theater and the Israeli Children and Youth Social Theater – and others.

A.     70 Years to the Uprising

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising broke out in 1943. The leaders of the Uprising were graduates of Zionist youth movements and educators, who dreamed of making Aliyah to Eretz Israel. Their dreams cut short by the war, they realized they had to turn to activism on behalf of the youth in the ghettos. The Uprising was a choice of activism, armed resistance, and preserving their humanity. This year, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Uprising.

Yad LaYeled, in cooperation with the Israeli Children and Youth Social Theater, producers of the play for youth “The Uprising”, have together created a program that explores the many faces of Jewish resistance: upholding values, educational work, cultural creativity, food smuggling, rescuing children, and armed resistance.

B.      Cooperative Activities

Cooperation with Yediot Aharonot: The Visitors’ Center of Yediot Aharonot and Yad LaYeled are collaborating to offer a unique activity that brings together intriguing research about the Jewish child during the Holocaust and a workshop “Being a Journalist”, which includes a behind-the-scenes visit to the world of journalism and the news desk of Yediot Aharonot.

Cooperation with the Treasures in the Walls Ethnographic Museum – “From Memory to Nostalgia”: Yad LaYeled and the Treasures in the Walls Museum of Acre have created a journey through time and the objects that shaped our lives. The objects displayed in Yad LaYeled transform collective memory into personal memory. Each object tells the story of one child, which is a world unto itself. In the Treasures in the Walls Museum, on the other hand, the objects play upon the strings of collective memory. Together, the two museums take the visitor on a nostalgic journey through the corridors of memory and the childhood age of innocence.

Cooperation with external theaters: Yad LaYeled designed a program for parents and their children of Bar-Mitzvah age. This program instills values into commemorating the Bar-Mitzvah, providing a link and encounter with the world of children who reached Bar-Mitzvah age during the Holocaust.

Cooperation with Nefesh Theater: Two plays by the Nephesh Theater are integrated with Yad LaYeled activities. “Miracles and Tragedies” by Beatriz Hal gives a simultaneously recounting of two journeys: The first is a journey through the inner world of Amos, an Israeli boy, confused and angry on the eve of his Bar-Mitzvah; the second is the journey of Amos’s grandfather, who commemorated his Bar-Mitzvah during the Holocaust period. This is a story of redemption, in which the love and stories of the grandfather help the adolescent mature, become stronger, and overcome his confusion and anger.

Yad LaYeled integrates attendance at the play with a visit to the Museum. This unique museum visit expands and deepens the journeys of Amos and his grandfather into the dark recesses of the past and their meaning for the present, and helps process the experience of the adolescent boy, both during the Holocaust and contemporary times.

The second play, “Hana’s Suitcase”, tells the fascinating story of an empty suitcase carrying the words “Hana Brady, 16 May 1931, waisenkind” [orphan], which reached the Tokyo Holocaust Resource Education Center in Japan.

Yad LaYeled invites visitors to view the drawings of Hana Brady and other children who were interred in the Terezin Ghetto, to understand the meaning of the drawings, and to experience workshops in writing, drama, art, movement, and music.

C.      New Testimonies in the Permanent Exhibition “The Jewish Child in the Holocaust”

Testimonies of several survivors have been added, including two who lived through the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising:

Aliza Shomron-Witis was 11 years old at the time of the Uprising, and served as a courier. A member of Hashomer Hatzair youth movement during the war, Aliza drew strength and support from the group. Today she lives on Kibbutz Maoz Haim.

Yisrael Levin was 7 at the time of the war. His feeling then, despite hiding with his father in the bunker of the resisters in Warsaw, was that they had no hope of surviving. Today he is a member of Kibbutz Yagur.

Lea de Lange: From her hiding place toward the end of the war, Leah saw a couple on bicycles. She tried to hide in the bathroom, but the strange woman approached her and said, “May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah”. “Mother,” responded Leah, “Shabbat shalom”…

Shmuel Engelmeyer: Shmuel spent most of the war with his family in a hiding place in the forest where he finally felt safe, after moving from one hiding place to another. Today he’s a member of Kibbutz Sasa.

Yehudit Arnon: Yehudit survived Auschwitz as a young girl who was willing to dance before sister prisoners, but not before the camp guards, who punished her for it. Dance became and has remained the focus of Yehudit’s life. She is one of the founders of the dance troupe in Kibbutz Ga’aton, where she lives.

D.     Changes in the Hall of Rotating Exhibitions:

We are energetically preparing a new exhibition to open in the Rotating Exhibition Hall. Called “Here my Childhood Began”, this exhibition will tell the story of the ingathering of Jewish children from all over Europe following the war, and what they underwent until arrival in Eretz Israel. Curator of this exhibition is Poriah Litchi from Kibbutz Nachsholim.

 

The educational work of Yad LaYeled is made possible thanks to the skilled and committed educational staff, who strive to create a meaningful and value-infused experience for young visitors. The material prepared for the children is the product of creative energies and diverse workshop activity.

Feedback from a fifth grader in Haifa’s Romema School: “…We had a very special experience. The children were a little suspicious at first, but had a very special esthetic experience wandering among the exhibits, seeing, listening, and above all – feeling. The tour assigned them the task of noticing things that are ‘closed’, but also and mainly things that were ‘open’ during that period. In a class discussion after the visit, the children expressed varied feelings about the Holocaust. It’s no longer terrifying, threatening, and scary, but there are also sparks of light within the great darkness. The way the day was planned was just right: first a tour, then the workshop for processing the experience, and finally the meeting in Korczak’s room, which has something softer, more modern, in it. So the children left with a positive feeling and told their parents, too, about a very meaningful experience”.

As the year opens, we are offering a wide range of varied and innovative programs, which challenge the visitor educationally, pedagogically, and creatively.

We wish all of you a year of varied, creative, and productive activity, and a museum full of visitors.

Anat Carmel, Director, Yad LaYeled

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