Keeping the Memory Alive in Day Schools

A Solomon Schechter day school presents families with FJMC’s yellow candles to help honor the millions who died during the Shoah, explains ELAINE SUCHOW

by Elaine Suchow

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All good schools teach a unit on tolerance in general, and on the Holocaust as an extreme example of intolerance. At the Solomon Schechter School of Queens, Yom HaShoah is more than just a unit of study. It is an emotional experience.

In addition to examining the historical background of the rise of the Nazi regime as part of the Jewish history curriculum, on Yom HaShoah, SSSQ Judaic Studies Principal Dr. Amittai Ben Ami arranges a special program for older elementary and middle school children. The El Molei Rachamim memorial prayer is included during morning tefillah (prayers). In addition, over the years Holocaust survivors have come to speak about their personal histories and the miracles of their triumph over adversity.

As an integral part of SSSQ’s Yom HaShoah program, each family is given a special yellow yahrzeit candle provided by FJMC. A special meditation is included with the candle. It is to be read as the candles are lit.

Martin Mayerson, headmaster at SSSQ, said, “Our goal is that each generation will remember and honor the memories of the millions of Jews who perished.”

Building community and working together to perpetuate our collective future is an ongoing campaign for the Solomon Schechter School of Queens. Its commitment was recently evidenced with its lead role in the founding of the Tri-State Schechter Consortium, which brought together local Schechter schools, local Conservative movement institutions, and partner organizations to work together on behalf of strengthening Schechter day school advocacy and advancement.

We are thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with other Conservative movement institutions and support the programs of the FJMC. We have had students and parents honored at many men’s clubs events and appreciate the ongoing efforts of the clubs and their members to make a difference in the community.

Collaboration equals kehilla. May we continue working together and go from strength to strength.

Elaine Suchow is director of development at the Solomon Schechter School of Queens, New York.