On Wednesday, May 19, the eleventh grade of Shevach High School was privileged to visit a unique exhibit created by the students of the Bais Yaakov of Baltimore. Titled “Journeys Through the Generations,” the exhibit allowed visitors to learn about Jewish history throughout the ages through a creative tour that consisted of sophisticated museum-like displays featuring Jewish life in over 30 countries worldwide. The Shevach girls were excited to review their lessons in Jewish history in a fun way and to interact with the Baltimore students.
Upon arriving at the Bais Yaakov, the Shevach students were warmly welcomed by the Baltimore girls and introduced to their “tour guides.” The guides led the girls through room after room, each devoted to a different country or region, and explained the research they had done to create displays highlighting the major historical events and leaders of that area. The displays consisted of enormous hand-painted murals of famous Jewish scenes, intricate mosaics of great rabbanim, artifacts from students’ ancestors that originated from each country, and even an enormous student-made revolving door.
In the Eastern Asia room, students were impressed by a large mural of the Chinese Kaifeng shul constructed out of colored chopsticks. A mosaic of the great Sefardi rabbanim in the Spain room, made entirely out of black and white dice, drew a lot of attention. In the United States room, the girls saw a wall covered in the pink slips that Jewish immigrants had received for refusing to work on Shabbos, on which the students had written names of their ancestors that had kept Shabbos, as well. In the Poland and Germany room, there was a short but thorough history of the struggles of the Jews during the Holocaust that included a brick and cement model of a concentration camp.
The tour ended with a visit to “Eretz Yisrael,” where the girls saw a model of the Beis HaMikdash made on the school’s 3D printer, as well as an inspiring memorial dedicated to the recent Meron tragedy. After viewing these exhibits, the girls were asked “How have you changed?” and urged to take on a kabalah as a z’chus for the niftarim.
The Shevach students were extremely impressed by the creativity and professionalism of the Baltimore girls, and were excited to realize how much of the information they recognized from their own parallel classes. All left inspired by the history of the Jewish nation – by their sacrifices, their struggles, and their triumphs. The entire group came away determined to continue this privileged legacy. In the words of one student, “I really felt such a connection to the Jews who came before us who had such m’siras nefesh for Torah u’mitzvos.”
After touring the exhibit, before beginning the long journey home, the girls were treated to a delicious lunch at the Baltimore pizza shop. Kudos to Shevach staff members Rebbetzin Rochelle Hirtz, Mrs. Chaya Swerdloff, and Mrs. Gitty Lipsius for making this incredible experience possible, and thank you to Shevach sophomore Chani Miller for reporting on this special trip.