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November 10, 1995 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-11-10

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This Chanukah

TRAGEDY page 5

On one point, all teachers
agreed: They should take the
lead in discussing the slaying in
class. Parents, they knew, some-
times are reluctant to raise un-
pleasant subjects at home.
Dan Swerdlow-Freed, a South-
field psychologist, applauded the
"When kids are exposed to
something like murder, it's going
to be a very scary and terrifying
experience for them," he said.
"They need some reassurance re-
garding their own safety as well
as regarding the safety of the
adults around them.
"Ignoring it, pretending it
doesn't exist, only increases that
sense of anxiety."
Simple questions, like that of
the gunman's fate, could be
transformed into classroom dis-
cussions on larger themes.
"We should have the students
research when capital punish-
ment has taken place in Israel
and why," Shawn Locke, the di-
rector of school services for the

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The killing, teachers said, also
carries lessons for the students'
own lives, including how they re-
solve conflicts at home and in
"Even two brothers in one lit-
tle family don't always agree,"
said Cantor Ben-Zion Lanxner
of Congregation Beth Abraham
Hillel Moses. "We have to teach
our kids to fight with words and
not physically. In peace — that's
what it's all about." ❑


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Ready to answer
every question.

Hillel Students Discuss
Their Emotions, Loss

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Agency for Jewish Education,
told the teachers.
"There are Jewish values in-
herent in the laws of Israel and
that is something our children
are very far removed from. We
should ask them how the deci-
sions made in Israel fit in with
Jewish history and thought."

here are no answers to
Yitzhak Rabin's death.
That's especially hard for
the young, who require ex-
planations when there are none.
On Monday, teachers at Hillel
Day School in Farmington Hills
walked into their classrooms,
faced with the daunting task of
explaining the unexplainable to
their students.
As children stepped off the bus-
es or out of their parents' cars and
into the school, they were met by
a television airing a live broadcast
of Prime Minister Rabin's funeral.
Later that day, the school ad-
ministration organized two last-
minute memorial services — one
for the older students and one for
the younger ones.
Throughout the day, teachers
talked about the tragedy. Many
could not hold back their tears.
`This was an extremely difficult
day and an extremely difficult sit-
uation," said Malka Littman,
standing outside the door of her
third-grade classroom. "The chil-
dren came to school well-aware of
what's going on. They were very
subdued and very cognizant of
how we teachers felt."
At the afternoon memorial ser-
vice, first-, second- and third-grade
classes crowded into a multipur-
pose room.
'We're saying goodbye to some-
one who was a dear friend to all of
us," Dr. Mark Smiley, the head-
master of Hillel Day School, said
during the service.

After a moment of silence in
Mr. Rabin's memory and a brief
service, Dr. Smiley led the chil-
dren in Kaddish and concluded
with "Hatikvah."
"I felt really, really sad be-
cause he died," Lauren Kastan,
a third-grader from West Bloom-
field, said after the service. "I
knew he was really, really spe-
cial because he fought for peace
and tried to make friends with
the Arabs."

"He was really,
really special
because he fought
for peace."

— Lauren Kastan

Lauren joined her classmates
in writing a note to the prime
minister's widow, Leah. "I told
her, 'I know how you feel and I'd
be sad, too.' "
Lauren's classmate Max
Braverman, also of West Bloom-
field, turned on the radio and
heard Mr. Rabin had been killed.
"I thought, 'Oh my God, he's
dead,' " 8-year-old Max said. "It
was helpful being in school today
and listening to what our teach-
ers had to say. I know I will nev-
er forget him and I will always
remember the good things he
did." Ci

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