Children Learn About Courage During a Presentation of My Heart in a Suitcase
About the Event
Students from Donna Klein Jewish Academy, Katz Hillel Day School and Torah Academy attended the morning performance of the staged play, My Heart in a Suitcase, a moving drama about how Jewish families in pre-war Europe went to great lengths to keep their children safe. The evening performance included students from the Mirochnick Religious school of B’nai Torah Congregation, the Barry Ira Graff School for Living Judaism of Congregation B’nai Israel and students from Temple Beth El’s Religious School.
Performed by ArtsPower National Touring Theatre, this four-person play highlights the struggles of the Lehmann family, who are desperately trying to send their daughter to England as part of the “Kindertransport.” Anne Lehmann Fox, was one of those 10,000 children. She left on Kindertransport in 1938 when she was 12 years old, and this play is her personal account of the circumstances her family faced.
After the play, the students were invited to ask questions of the actors, with dozens of hands raised to have a chance to learn more about what the Jewish people faced in such a dark, but not-so-distant, past. The presentation also included a Q&A with another Kindertransport survivor, Anita Hoffer, who very openly and honestly told the students about her memories of leaving Berlin.
The students were thoughtful and curious, as noted by their questions, and the impact this play left on them was indelible. Comments received afterwards included:
"My 6th grader attended the Kindertransport play and told me all about it this evening. She described it as ‘bittersweet’ and said she and a few of her friends were moved to tears. It sounds like this was a very meaningful way to bring history to life in a context that kids can relate to and empathize with. Great job."
"My children couldn't stop talking about it. What an amazing story."
"I had friends that went with their kids and said it was an awesome experience".
For more information about programs like this, contact Marilyn Nachman, Director School Educational Services of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County at 561.852.3218 or email MarilynN@bocafed.org.