The Covenant Grants

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Utilizing Digital Storytelling to Document Jewish Heritage

Organization: Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, New Milford, NJ

Grant Year: 2013

Project Director: Ms. Beryl Bresgi

Type of Grant: Ignition

Grant Amount: $20,000 (1 year)


Arts and Culture

To write a curriculum and launch a documentary film production program for middle school students, providing them with first-hand experience in researching and learning about the Holocaust and other significant Jewish historical events through first-person testimony.

Students will be provided a multi-media forum to explore eye-witness accounts of the Shoah, as well as gain an appreciation for pre-war European culture and the Shoah’s impact on 20th Century Jewish life. The school makes use of their Holocaust and Heritage Center and Technology Center to create a curriculum utilizing modern audio-visual and editing technology, along with I Witness (an online database of testimonials created by the Shoah Foundation) and subscription resources available at museums in Washington, DC, New York, and Europe to document eye-witness accounts of significant events in Jewish history, including – but not limited to – the Holocaust. Over their three-year Middle School careers, students at Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County learn to study personal narratives and testimony, interviewing skills and techniques, and gain an appreciation for the power and impact of first-hand accounts.

The learning culminates with the task of conducting an interview with a Holocaust survivor or a second generation survivor. Students record and edit their videos to create mini-documentaries and learn the concept of “ethical video.”

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