Editor’s Note: This entry is excerpted from remarks given by Michael Glickman at the Museum’s Generation to Generation brunch honoring Ann Oster held on October 22, 2017.
We pass down our traditions, culture, and wisdom generation to generation: L’Dor V’Dor. We teach our children and grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, that even as we, the Jewish people, carry the joys of our heritage, we must also shoulder the burden of memory. We transmit to our young people the sacred obligation to honor those we lost in the Holocaust, and to cherish the survivors still with us. We promise that we will never forget, we teach the next generation, and we ask that they never forget. We insist.
With our insistence, we make a promise: Far into the future, there will be people who remember our history and its painful lessons. Down the generations, we will have taught them to remember. “Never forget” is a call to action and a call to teaching, and it’s one that this Museum—our Museum—answers every day.
Here in our living memorial, our teaching extends far beyond our own children and grandchildren. Young people of all backgrounds, from around the world, enter our doors to learn about the Holocaust and to remember. Generation to generation, we communicate the importance of keeping memory alive. Here, survivor testimony personalizes history. We defy the Nazis’ attempts to dehumanize and destroy the Jewish people. We remember the history of the Holocaust as a history of individuals—and this in itself is an act of resistance.
Many of the Museum’s visitors are students from public schools, Jewish day schools, or other private educational institutions. In the past three years alone, we have welcomed more than 175,000 schoolchildren to our Battery Park City home. We also reach students in their own classrooms. More than 24,000 New York City Department of Education teachers have come to the Museum for workshops and training sessions.
Hebrew schools, synagogues, churches, and community organizations also bring groups to the Museum or use our online resources to teach about the Holocaust and modern Jewish history. When families visit, parents benefit from the Museum’s guidance on how to approach sensitive but important Holocaust-related content with their children.
Teaching future generations requires creating, refining, and continually reinvigorating the sacred space of our living memorial. The sacredness of this space is renewed each time a student enters our doors for the first time. When young people visit us here at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, we treat them with respect and understanding. We offer them documented facts, irreplaceable artifacts, survivor testimony; the historical, the human, the emotional. We do this to fulfill our promise to honor those who came before us and to teach—and equip—those who will lead us into the future.
Scroll through the slideshow below for some of the joyous moments from the 2017 Generation to Generation brunch.