by COLlive staff
Every day in the Jewish Children’s Museum, schools from all walks of life come to visit and experience Jewish culture and history with a day of activities and hands-on workshops. Among the schools that attend are many public schools. In the past month, we invited two Brooklyn public schools to join us on two different occasions. Partaking in this program were many middle school students from Brooklyn schools PS135 as well as MS61.
Through a special initiative, The Jewish Children’s Museum has been inviting students for a full day experience in the museum; participating in game shows, exhibit tours, and arts & crafts. The children stay for lunch, followed by a unique open conversation about their understanding of the Jewish people, Jewish life, and Jewish customs.
The conversation begins with Devorah Halberstam, co-founder of the Jewish Children’s Museum, who shares a personal message with the students about her son Ari’s life. The students were fascinated by the bittersweet memories, as Halberstam describes Ari’s love for basketball, his passion for Judaism, and his positive outlook on life.
We are equipped with a team of JCM educators in addition to guest Rabbis who are prepared to converse with the students in an open mic, town hall-style session. Students asked questions about Jewish traditions and Jewish identity, and the children were enthusiastic to learn about Jewish culture.
Questions covered topics including belief in G-d, Jewish dress, and Jewish holiday customs. This session was coordinated by Goldie Moskowitz, director of the JCM education department and Sarah Leah Bronstein, JCM program coordinator.
“These children are the leaders of the next generation. They leave with a much better understanding, a true appreciation of acceptance, and a desire to respect their peers as well as people of other backgrounds,” says Devorah Halberstam.
Participating in this event is also the community affairs department of the NYPD who welcomes the children. These programs have been funded by the City Council under the leadership of speaker Corey Johnson, majority leader Laurie Cumbo, council member Chaim Deutsch, and other members who have supported these significant workshops. The Jewish Children’s Museum is very grateful for their support.