The Classroom of Life
My great-grandmother, Margot Jeremias, always valued education. This stemmed from her education being taken from her in Germany, at the age of 14, when the Nazis made it impossible for anyone Jewish to go to school. Despite her lack of formal education, during her lifetime she taught herself to read and write in three languages. Later in her life, she spoke to various schools, including my own, about what it was like going through the Holocaust, and she always discussed the importance of having an education.
The value of learning is a theme that shows up in Judaism frequently. Both being Jewish and being educated were made much harder for her because of the Nazis. When she came to America, being an active member of her synagogue and the Jewish community where she lived was a significant part of her life. She went through a horrible experience, but she didn’t turn away from God and from Judaism. Instead, she turned towards God and her community for support. This inspires me to always prioritize Judaism, and make it a part of my education.
In my daily activities, my great-grandmother affects my life in many ways. I now use her old candlesticks on Shabbat, and think of her when I light the candles. Even in school, when we learn our Holocaust Unit, I think of her and understand more with each lesson about what she went through. She makes my education more relatable to me and my Judaism.
My Family Project is a representation of a classroom, with me and my great-grandmother learning together. She is passing down her love for Judaism and education, as well as countless life lessons. The scene emerges from a book set during the Holocaust and represents both mine and my great-grandmother’s love of reading and learning. On the blackboard we can see the word ‘Shalom,’ Hebrew for peace. Because of her horrible experiences in the Holocaust, my great-grandmother taught me the importance of ending hate and striving for peace in the world. Although my great-grandmother has passed away, I will carry these lessons with me and always treasure my opportunity for an education, both secular and Jewish.
The value of learning is a theme that shows up in Judaism frequently.
the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university. An enlightening experience