Hillel Day School
1st place poster
Irving Berlin's legacy proves tragedy
can be turned to joy.
rving Berlin was a
man who really
inspired the spirit of
our nation. No, he wasn't
one of our founding
fathers. No, his family
wasn't wealthy; he wasn't
even born in the United
States of America. He was
a simple man who had
dreams and hopes, and he
worked to make them
No one is quite sure where in Russia Irving
Berlin was born, nor are they sure of his exact
birth date, but many believe he was born on May
2, 1888, in Siberia.
Isidore Beilin (Irving Berlin's real name) was the
youngest of his family of eight. There is very little
known about his life prior to living in the U.S.A.
There is no detailed record of Berlin's family's
journey from their homeland of Russia to New
York City. We know that they traveled by boat,
ready to start a new life, with the few belongings
that they brought with them, and the little
money they had.
On Sept. 13, 1893, the Berlin family arrived in
New York City. Irving Berlin loved music and he
loved to sing. He had a musical heritage; his
father was a cantor. One of Berlin's teachers com-
plained, "He just dreams and sings to himself."
Irving Berlin was truly amazing! I can relate to
his situation as a youth in Russia because there are
many similarities today facing people in the
United States and the world. You see, Irving
Berlin experienced a terrorist attack at age 4 or 5.
His village was under siege by terrorists who beat
and tortured some people. They didn't do this
because the people were bad; they did this because
they were Jewish. This act of terrorism was called
a pogrom. Though it has been almost three and a
half years since 9-11, that day will be something I
will always remember, just as Irving Berlin always
remembered the pogroms of his childhood.
In the time following 9-11, many of us were
scared and filled with grief and sadness. These
were feelings that many people had never experi-
enced. Just as people felt when they were attacked
in pogroms, many Americans felt like victims of
hatred after 9-11.
At times like this, we turn to song, a cheerful
tune, to drive away the horrid feelings. Many, in
these times of sadness, sang "God Bless America."
This was a song written by Irving Berlin. You see,
Berlin didn't even come from America, but he
knew of pain, grief and sadness and turned it into
joy with music. "God Bless America" isn't really
all about America. In the end, it's really about
freedom, triumphing over sadness and grief.
Many people don't understand why 9-11 even
happened, and they think the attacks going on
against Israel are different and even possibly justi-
fied. But, in the end, 9-11 and all terrorist
attacks, including all those in Israel today and the
pogroms of Berlin's childhood, all boil down to
hatred. I have learned from Irving Berlin's exam-
ple to not have hatred in my. heart. Irving Berlin
experienced the madness, the hatred, which we all
experienced those three and a half years ago, but
he chose to celebrate freedom in the U.S.A.
I admire and look up to him because what he
did is really what we all need to try and do. He
turned grief into happiness and adversity into
Irving Berlin wrote many successful songs, but
the most successful was "White Christmas." He
won an Academy Award for best song of the year
with "White Christmas" in 1942. Many don't
know this, but Berlin, a Jewish man, wrote the
most famous Christmas song!
This song, though, isn't really just about
Christmas. It's about happiness, cheer, love and
being together for the holidays. It shows how all
human beings, of all religions and race, share
these feelings. Irving Berlin is a real inspiration to
me. He makes me want to improve our world and
use the arts to do so. 0
Summer Krinsky of Bloomfield Hills is a student in
the Congregation Chaye Olam Religious School.
Hillel Day School
2nd place poster
Hillel Day School
3rd place poster
liANK WIFE NBERG
350TH WINNERS on page 58