When you meet a witness, you become a witness.
- Elie Wiesel
TWIN-WITH-A-SURVIVOR is a program designed to help B’nai Mitzvah perform the mitzvah of becoming a witness to those who witnessed the Holocaust. (The mitzvah: to “Remember the evil which Amalek perpetrated on us” – Ki Tazi)
The student will meet and get to know a Holocaust Survivor; will include the Survivor’s experience in his or her speech and will recall that Survivor at anniversary Bar/Bat Mitzvah commemorations. Because of the circumstances of the Shoah, many Survivors never had the opportunity to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah. None had a Bat Mitzvah. Survivors have told us that being twinned has given them “a new lease on life.”
This program is usually described as “truly transformative” in its effect on the student and family, as well as for the survivor. It helps students mature and increases their knowledge of the history of World War II, the Shoah, and their Jewish heritage. They learn about human resilience; that one can overcome the greatest trauma and adversity to create a satisfying life and become a valued member of society. Most importantly, students learn that despite all the suffering and losses survivors endured for nothing more than being Jewish, they have chosen to remain part of the Jewish community.
The students are then asked to give back, as we know that the years are getting further and further away from end of the Holocaust; yet we also know that the stories of the Holocaust are so critical to continue to tell. Through a variety of options, or one that the students can create on their own, they are asked to share their survivor’s story to the greater community.
The giving of Tzeddukah is a greatly important component of Judaism. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Holocaust Council of MetroWest to mark this special occasion. The Council depends on contributions to enable us to provide programs, including this one. We hope we can count on your generosity to continue our work of remembering the past to ensure a better future.
For they were living men and women, not symbols. - Elie Wiesel
The primary objective is for the student to understand that the Survivor she/he is twinning with, was, remained and continues to be uniquely human.
In this process, the student will increase his/her abilities to interview, and document history, all of which should prove invaluable skills for learning and life.
Suggested interview topics:
Continuing to tell the story: (sample ideas for students to complete in order to continue to tell the story; if you have your own idea, please share it with us)