Hundreds of people poured into Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva on Thursday night. The eighth grade class completed their year-long Holocaust study program “Names, Not Numbers©,” culminating in the screening of a documentary of the experience. The project, Names, Not Numbers ©, created by educator Tova Fish-Rosenberg, took place at RPRY for the fourth year in a row. Over the year-long project, students created a documentary recording the oral histories of nine Holocaust survivors: Mrs. Margit Buchhalter Feldman, Mrs. Agnes Friedman, Mrs. Ruth Heilbron Gottlieb, Dr. G. Eugene Gottlieb, Mrs. Inge Katzenstein, and Mr. Sol Lurie.
Simultaneously, a documentary of this process was created by filmmaker Adam Chinoy, with excerpts from the students’ documentary, which was screened at the program’s final event. Woven throughout the project, the 8th graders researched their survivors’ stories, and learned filmmaking and interview techniques working with journalist Jeanette Friedman and filmmaker Chinoy.
“Names, Not Numbers© was the most amazing thing I have ever done,” eighth grader Neshama Rudnitzky shared, “it was an amazing privilege getting to sit down next to a survivor, talk to her, and hear her story first hand...The research process was very meaningful and interesting to me on a personal level.” Several students shared the meaningful personal connection they developed by doing the project, deepening their understanding of the Holocaust and living through challenging times as Jews. Student Adina Warschawsky spoke at the screening about learning from her interviewee, Mrs. Agnes Friedman, first hand about emunah through great difficulty; “there was no shortage of physical and spiritual resistance throughout Europe against the Holocaust, and in the end we prevailed, proving to the world that a little faith goes a long way in times of darkness. I have read about the faith that our people showed, and I have seen movies depicting that faith. But now I have met someone who herself used faith to survive; faith that God would save her, faith in our religion, faith that she would live to tell her story. Without faith, without emunah, we would not have survived.”
Eighth grader Yosef Shmuel touched on how the experience has become part of his mesorah, saying “how do we know the Torah is true? Because our parents told us, and their parents told them, all the way back to Moshe on Har Sinai. We are a part of a mesorah, a tradition, and now we have an obligation to teach our children. And this is how we know about the Holocaust. Mrs. Feldman told me her story. I will continue the chain and tell it to my children. I never met Moshe rabbeinu, and my children may never have the privilege of meeting a Holocaust survivor like I did. But they will have the mesorah to pass on to their children as well because I am a witness to the story.”
Many students additionally commented on how much they appreciated learning about filming and editing, feeling a great sense of ownership over the project. The documentaries are archived at the national library of Israel in Jerusalem, at Yad Vashem, and at the YU Gottesman Library.
“I know that we all share these emotions—pride and gratitude—when we think of the survivors who have given us a legacy to live up to...We all have the responsibility and privilege to make sure the world never forgets,” Head of School Rabbi Daniel Loew shared. The evening concluded with the singing of Ani Maamin.
RPRY gratefully thanks the Holocaust survivors who shared so generously with our students, Names, Not Numbers© and its creator Tova Fish-Rosenberg, and The Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ. RPRY would also like to thank the many supporters who made the program possible:
Thank You to Our Donors
Susan & Moshe Wiesel
Eli and Chani Wiesel, Tzippi and Josh Posner, Avi and Frumie Wiesel and Family.
In honor of our beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother, RACHEL LEFKOVITS and in loving memory of our dear parents, grandparents and great grandparents IMRE LEFKOVITS (z"l) RIFCA & YEHOSHUA WIESEL(z"l) all who survived the horrors of the SHOAH and rose to build a Jewish family and become pillars of each community in which they resided. And in memory of the 6 million Kedoshim who perished in the Holocaust.
Penny & Michael Kaplan
Sari and Michie Klerer, Marni and Arkady Broder, Shoshana and Jordan Kaplan, Bat-Chen and Benjamin Kaplan
In honor of Fay Szylit Baumfeld, our dear mother, grandmother and great grandmother, who survived the horrors of the Shoah to witness the rebirth of her family. In loving memory of our dear father, grandfather, and survivor, Julius Yoel Baumfeld. May the good deeds that we all do be a merit for their families and all those who perished.
Josh & Leslie Ostrin
In loving memory of the dozens of family members from our combined Blank, Silber & Ostrin families, as well as the millions who are part of our extended family, who perished in the Shoah. May their Neshamot be a source of Bracha, inspiration and protection to all of Klal Yisroel & the world.
In honor of Harriet & George Blank, who survived the War and whose generosity & wisdom know no bounds, as they dedicate their lives to positively impacting and inspiring others, B'Simcha & Al Kiddush Hashem.
Tova & Jeremy Renna
Dedicated in loving memory of Miriam Renna's great grandparents
Frances Jacobs Steiner - Faiga Bas Yaakov
Don Einhorn - Don Ben Alter Asher Anshel
Thank You to Our Sponsors
Sheldon and Fran Fine
In honor of our grandson, Dovie Fine, on his graduation from RPRY
Pesel bas Shaindel
Rabbi Daniel & Chanie Loew
In honor of our grandparents
In memory of Yisroel ben Lieba and Chaim David ben Yisroel
Donald Schneider and Ellen Schorr
In honor of Margit Feldman
Lori and Walter Nagel
In honor of Ruth and Gene Gottlieb
Lynn & Marc Hanfling
In memory of Holocaust survivors Mr. and Mrs. Hersh Hanfling
In honor of the RPRY staff
Jeff and Rena Klein
In honor of our parents
Susan and David Goldsmith , Elisha and Marty Klein
In honor of the RPRY 8th grade class!
Russell and Nitza Adler
In Memory of Chana Bat Menachem
Jennie and Josh Fine
In honor of Morris Sternberg, Dovie Fine's Great Grandfather, who survived the Holocaust
In memory of Sam & Janice Gutwein
Harriet and George Blank
Mazel Tov to all of this year’s participants, and especially to our dear friend, Margit Feldman.
Dr. and Mrs. G. Eugene Gottlieb
In memory of Leo and Else Gottlieb, Hugo and Else Heilbronn, Ferdinand and Selma Gottlieb, Eugen and Pauline Teutsch, Levi and Selma Wertheim, Ludwig and Rosa Heilbronn and all family members murdered in the Holocaust. In honor of the 8th grade students and our recognition in the Names, Not Numbers Program. In honor of our children and grandchildren.
In Memory of Benjamin & Jean Chodosh, Survivors
In memory of Levi & Betty Tannenberg, Mattityahu & Sheva Gelber.
In honor of Walter & Bertel Goldsmith and Josef & Rachel Basista
Tobina Robin Willer –Grin
In memory of Maurice and Grace Willer and Michael Grin
Margit and Harvey Feldman
In memory of the Buchhalter and Granat family
Mr. and Mrs. David and Stacy Waxman-Callen
In loving memory of Itay Callen’s great-grandparents – all survivors of the Holocaust and whose memories live through their family:Avraham Yechezkel ben Yaakov Aryeh Hacohen, Etel bat Yaakov Kopel, Moshe Shalom ben David Meir, Sara Shprintzer bat Altar Avraham Yessachar
In honor of Mrs. Inge Katzenstein, Mrs. Agnes Friedman, Mrs. Ruth Heilbron Gottlieb, Mrs. Margit Buchhalter Feldman, Mrs. Inge Katzenstein, Mr. Sol Lurie.
Rochelle & Jerald Blum
In honor of Erez Guzman, Claire and Melvin Blum.
Special Thanks To
Rabbi Daniel Loew, Head of School
Rabbi Joshua Einzig, Assistant Principal of Judaic Studies
Mrs. Chana Luchins, Assistant Principal of General Studies
Penny Kaplan, Chanie Loew, Jodie Salit, Susan Wiesel - Coordinators
Nitza Adler, Rabbi Nachman Lapa - NNN Teachers
Rabbi Steven Miodownik - Emunah Session
Carlson Limerick, Emily Menasha - Student Reflections
Nia West-Williams, Dina Fahmy - Administrative Support
Tova Fish-Rosenberg - Program Creator, Producer
Dov Rosenberg - Producer
Adam Chinoy - Film Editor, Videographer, Instructor
Jeanette Friedman - Journalist, Interview Techniques
Dr. Paul Radensky - Museum of Jewish Heritage
Dean Rickard, Gene Wasserman, Eli Wiesel - Technical Support
Mark Stein, Rachel Stein - Photographers
Josh Fine, Ida Scheiner - Parent Liaisons
Mira & Psachya Septimus
Congregation Ohr Torah