The concept behind achieving “a learning experience deemed religious” is by understanding that it is something that is not limited to a specific group of people that belong to that particular religion. Instead, it can be achieved by anyone through the internalization of the history of that religion and how it has impacted a particular culture and society. By knowing what the religion stands for, its tenets and principles and what the groups of people that belong to it have endured over the years, you are thus able to internalize it, appreciate it and achieve a learning experience that is deemed religious (Kashner 10).
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One of the best examples of such a situation was the class trip to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and its rather auspicious connection to the recently concluded Jewish holiday of Purim. Purim commemorates a dark period in history where the Jewish people were almost annihilated through the machinations of a biblical, historical figure by the name of Haman (Schellekens 120).
Fortunately, a series of events took place that helped to prevent this senseless slaughter which resulted in the holiday being created. The reason the visit can be considered as being auspicious concerning Purim is due to the Holocaust exhibit that is one of the more prominent displays in the museum. When looking at the sheer amount of suffering and death that occurred during the terror of the Nazi regime and realizing that this is not the first time that the Jewish people have come close to utter annihilation with thousands being killed, you cannot help but develop a deep and abiding respect for them (Nesfield 47).
Here are people that have died for their faith, they have endured innumerable hardships, gone through horrific tortures and yet they continue to stand proudly for their beliefs (Rowland 70). Looking at exhibits such as the Garden of Stones and the various chronological sections depicting the achievements of the Jewish people, the one aspect that can be taken from this is that the Jewish people have taken their suffering in stride. Despite all the horrors, tortures and deaths, the museum trip showed me that the Jewish people still hold strongly to the very beliefs and traditions that they have been murdered for (Seipp 725).
Some may consider this foolish, for me, this is a sign of strength since to hold onto your convictions and beliefs despite the tortures you have endured is a sign of amazing willpower and faith in the divine. What this learning experience deemed religious means to me are a sense of wonder and somber realization. It is a sense of wonder since the experience showed a proud and strong people that have endured much in the name of faith, something which I doubt I have the strength for. It is also a somber realization since the hate and bigotry that caused the suffering of the Jewish people continues to exist in the world today, albeit in a different form.
All in all, this was a valued learning experience since it has helped me to understand more about the traditions, history, and faith in the face of adversity that has come to define Jews around the world. The experience has taught me that we should heed the lessons that history has shown us and remember how it has a habit of repeating itself.
Kashner, Zoe. “Surviving THE Holocaust.” Junior Scholastic 117.5 (2014): 10. Print
Nesfield, Victoria. “Keeping Holocaust Education Relevant In A Changing Landscape: Seventy Years On.” Research In Education 94 (2015): 44-54. Print
Rowland, Antony. “Reading Holocaust Poetry: Singularity And Geoffrey Hill’s ‘September Song’.” Textual Practice 30.1 (2016): 69-88. Print
Schellekens, Jona. “Accession Days And Holidays: The Origins Of The Jewish Festival Of Purim.” Journal Of Biblical Literature 128.1 (2009): 115-134. Print
Seipp, Adam R. “Buchenwald Stories: Testimony, Military History, And The American Encounter With The Holocaust.” Journal Of Military History 79.3 (2015): 721-744. Print.