On Saturday, April 26, 2014, the Miller High School Honors Program at HUC-JIR/New York explored Jewish immigration stories and the Lower East Side.
The program began as students shared personal family stories with one another. Students' families came from the Former Soviet Union, Ireland, and even Morocco. Then, as a group, students read "The Lower East Side of New York City: On the Jewish Plymouth Rock of New York's Lower East Side, Jewish Immigrants Began their New Lives" to set the scene for their day on the Lower East Side. Participants split into smaller groups and created short presentations to teach each other about the journey to Ellis Island and what the living conditions were like during the last nineteenth century.
HUC-JIR New York School of Education student and Miller High School Honors Program leader Ellie Tepper explained, "One of the most moving parts of our morning was our Shabbat T'Filah experience. Each student was given a prayer from our liturgy and developed their own personal prayer based around the central theme. The prayers each participant came up with were absolutely beautiful and came from the heart. We were blown away!"
To conclude the day, students took a walking tour of the Lower East Side. Utilizing an iPhone application provided by the Jewish Education Project, partipants explored some of the key locations of this area, including Yonah Schimmel Knishes, Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue,and The Pickle Guys, while reading their historic narrative. Tepper noted, "It was a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful day and experience the important Jewish culture right in our own backyard!"
The Miller High School Honors Program invites 11th and 12th grade students from the greater New York area to learn with HUC-JIR students, faculty, and leaders of the Reform Movement. This program offers teens a chance to deepen their Jewish knowledge and awareness of contemporary issues and develop their capacity as young leaders in their congregation and for Reform Judaism. The program meets on Shabbat twelve times throughout the year. Learn more >