By COLlive reporter
Photos: Mendy Toledano/COLlive
100 children from local public schools gathered at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights recently for a day of fun and learning.
The children from Crown Heights local Middle Schools enjoyed a tour of the museum, a game show and crafts, followed by a ‘Town Hall’ style meeting with the museum’s director of foundations and government services Mrs. Devorah Halberstam and the museum’s director of programming, Rabbi Nissen Brenenson.
The event was sponsored by the Jewish Children’s Museum, and was coordinated by the NYPD 71st and 77th Precincts community affairs detectives Vinny Martinos and Tanya Salters.
The program was launched last year as a way to encourage and maintain good relations between the Crown Heights communities.
Halberstam related to the children how her son Ari Halberstam was murdered because he was a Jew, and that he was hated simply because he could be identified as Jewish.
Many of the children expressed their condolences to Halberstam about the loss of her son, she said.
The response from the children was “amazing,” relates Halberstam, and said that they began to open up and ask many questions. She said she was surprised at how unfamiliar the children were with many aspects of Jewish culture, even though they live side by side with many Jewish neighbors.
“The children asked questions like ‘What are those fringes on Jewish clothing?’ and ‘Are all Jewish people Rabbis?’ They also couldn’t believe a Jewish museum could be this much fun,” Halberstam said.
“These children are the next generation’s leaders. This is the best way to build relationships of understanding and kindness,” she said.