Thursday, November 7, 2013

Narratives from the past and their importance today

Holocaust education is important, lest we forget the tragedy that befell our people during Wold War II when six million Jewish lives were lost.

I had the distinct pleasure of once again attending the fourth annual Legacy Symposium for people in their 20s and 30s, held Nov. 3 at Hart House, on the University of Toronto's downtown campus, as part of Holocaust Education Week.

Participants examined narratives in an effort to internalize, appreciate and commit to memory what the world was like then and what we are responsible for remembering today. The workshop I attended focused on the experiences of young professionals who have travelled to the historical sites in Europe that evoke the stories of survivors and their families.

The panel discussion was moderated by event chair Raquel Binder and featured Upper Canada College teacher Rachel Metalin; Shauna Waltman, founder of March of the Living's young adult division, and Shael Rosenbaum, chair of March of the Living's young adult division.

It's our collective mission to pass on what we have learned about the human condition from the stories of those still with us as well as those who are not, Waltman said.

From left, Raquel Binder, Rachel Metalin, Shauna Waltman and Shael Rosenbaum

Metalin, who teaches elementary school, added to the spirit of Waltman's message, stating, "We can't invest in what we can't relate to."

In that vein, she said she hopes to take her class on a trip this year that's similar to March of the Living, and that she hopes the voices echoing through time will resonate with her students the way they do with March of the Living participants.

Legacy sharing is paramount to truly remembering the Holocaust. Making history tangible, visceral and real perpetuates knowing that there is a world that exists beyond the self.

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