A very memorable moment for me in 2018 was representing the Shoah Committee and introducing the production of “My Heart in a Suitcase” to a packed auditorium of students from Grades 8-10 at Ridgemont High School. At its conclusion, over 600 students, plus their teachers spontaneously rose from their seats, many in tears, with a standing ovation.
The Shoah Committee decided to bring this play in from New York, with the support of a generous donation from Miriam and Michael Leber. Members of the committee visited the school in advance to make sure things were properly organized according to the needs of the production company. During that visit, we hoped we had chosen the right venue to show this play, but were unsure if it would truly resonate with this student body. The hallways were filled with kids from diverse backgrounds, many of whom were new Canadians and whose first language was not English. When we asked the vice-principal if these teens’ curriculum included any Holocaust education, she was unsure, and thought, for many of them, this might be their first exposure. [Read more…]