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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.

Note to parents/guardians: This activity refers to the Holocaust but does not go into detail about it. Please use your judgment to decide if this activity is right for your student.

This activity builds on the skills of making observations and using the observations to draw inferences. Our educational approach is grounded in the idea that every object tells a story, and we encourage students to observe and infer to try to determine what story each object is telling.

View the artifact here.

Have your student list objective observations (what they can see, without making any guesses or inferences). Encourage them to deepen their observations and record things they may not have noticed upon first viewing the artifact.

Next, ask your student to make inferences: what do you think this object was? Who might it have belonged to? What story is it telling?

After discussing their inferences, asking for them to support their answers with evidence from their observations and prior knowledge, discuss the story behind this artifact.

This ceramic plate was intended for use at the Passover Seder meal, with indentations for the ritual Passover foods that go on the plate. The plate was manufactured around 1946, in a workshop established for Holocaust survivors to teach them new skills. This workshop was set up by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an organization that helped Holocaust survivors build new lives after World War II. The plate shows images of slaves and taskmasters; iconographic images of the Holy Land; and the Hebrew text includes “from slavery to freedom,” and “this year in Jerusalem,” reflecting both the Passover story and the hope of many survivors in Displaced Persons camps to establish their future homes in the Land of Israel.

Ask your student:

  • Passover is a holiday that commemorates freedom from slavery and oppression. What special meaning do you think it had for Holocaust survivors after the war was over?
  • Is there an object in your home that you use for a holiday? Explain what it is and why it is important to you.
Passover Seder, 1945, US Third Army, Luxembourg
Passover Seder, US Third Army, Luxembourg, 1945.

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

Please note that the Museum offices are closed on Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10 in observance of Passover. We wish those of you celebrating a wonderful holiday, and we will resume posting on Monday, April 13.