Temple Sholom 7th Graders to Participate in Intergenerational History Project

Over the next few months, Temple Sholom 7th grade religious school students will have the opportunity to revisit Jewish history through a new and exciting initiative made possible by the Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County.

The project – referred to as L’Dor V’Dor (From Generation to Generation) – is part of Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County’s Oral History and Archives at Home effort, and provides interactive and experiential lessons designed to develop an appreciation for the Jewish history of Fairfield County, as well as each student’s family role in that history. It was first launched at Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy last spring by Dr. Elissa Kaplan and Dr. Leah Tillman, and has expanded with the efforts of Congregation Beth El-Norwalk’s Hebrew school teacher Rhonda Ginsberg to include religious schools in synagogues all over the county.

As part of the curriculum, students will act as budding historians, gaining awareness of the stories that family artifacts tell, using photos, documents and objects from the Vivian and Irwin Miller Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County archives as resources to connect with the past. Leslie Heyison, market research consultant, will help participants develop interviewing and technological skills to create a 10-minute video of a grandparent or elderly relative to share their story in their own words.

At the end of the project, students will be joined by their parents at the L’Dor V’Dor Siyyum celebration to view the videos and discuss the impact the experience made. The videos will also be added to the Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County archives to view by generations to come.

“They approached us about this opportunity to have our teens be a part of their oral history project, and what they proposed is fantastic,” said Rabbi Kevin Peters, Temple Sholom’s Assistant Rabbi/Director of Jewish Education & Youth Programs who teaches 7th grade religious school.

“It’s a great model for experiential education. Not only do they learn about the Jewish history of Fairfield County, but they get to interview a senior member of their family and learn how they have shaped their family’s history. When all is said and done, their projects will actually be part of the archives and will have created a sense of ownership and connection to the broader Jewish community for these students.”