In this challenging time, many parents and guardians are looking online for meaningful activities for their children that don’t require too much prep or too many materials. Each weekday on this blog, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will post an activity geared to a range of ages that guide children how to explore heritage, history, and learning through artifacts.

The collection of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust features thousands of artifacts that reflect Jewish life in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. One aspect of Jewish life during this time is immigration. The artifact for today’s activity, which is from 1905, tells part of this story. Many Jews and other groups came to the United States during this time period of “open immigration,” though it is important to note that there were laws, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, enacted to prevent immigration from being open to all.

Graduation photo of Rose Stavisker Fischman
Gift of Bernard D. Fischman in memory of Rose Stavisker Fischman

Click here for a larger view of the artifact.

Ask your student:

  • What event is this photograph commemorating? How can you tell?
    • It is a graduation photo – you can tell because she is wearing graduation robes.
  • This photograph was taken in 1905 – does that surprise you? What questions do you have about it? How does knowing that the photo was taken in 1905 change your perception of its story?
    • It was not common in that era for women to graduate from higher education.
  • This is Dr. Rose Stavisker Fischman She was an immigrant, originally from Poland. What do people need in order to pursue higher education, like Dr. Fischman did, and why might this be challenging for her?
    • She would need the money/resources to attend school and have learned English well enough to be successful in an academic setting.
  • Dr. Fischman was one of the first women in New York State to have a degree in dentistry. Dr. Fischman worked in a free clinic. She later helped refugees fleeing persecution by providing free dental services for them. Why do you think she decided to use her profession to help others?
    • She knew what it was like to struggle as a new immigrant.

We encourage you to share your student’s work with us! Please email so that we may feature it on our Museum blog!