On Monday, February 13, Central seniors in the “From the Ashes” Holocaust education program had the privilege of visiting Washington, DC, for an educational and memorable trip. Participants in the program had been working diligently, meeting once a week with faculty advisor and Holocaust educator Rabbi Dr. Joshua Strulowitz, for both history of the Holocaust sessions and lessons on interview techniques.

These lessons culminated in a full-day trip to Washington, DC, where students, accompanied by Rabbi Dr. Strulowitz and Head of School Ms. Bracha Rutner, visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The group completed a self-guided tour, which allowed for each student to walk through the museum at her own pace. Both returning visitors and those who were experiencing the museum for the first time noted how meaningful the exhibits were. “I had been to the Holocaust Museum in eighth grade,” said Rivka Sullivan (’23), “but coming back four years later with so much more knowledge was such an emotional experience.”

After the museum tour, the group walked through the streets of DC, passing both the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, to the next stop on the trip: the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. There, they were met by Cynthia Bernstein, a graduate of both Central (’02) and Stern College for Women (’06), who currently serves as the Director of Management and Administration in the Office of the Vice President. Led by Ms. Bernstein, the group walked through the Eisenhower Office Building and were seated in one of the offices, where they had the opportunity to hear from Aviva Feuerstein, a speechwriter for the White House, and Shelley Greenspan, the White House Jewish Liaison.

The Central seniors were hugely appreciative to hear from Ms. Feuerstein, Ms. Greenspan, and Ms. Bernstein, who had taken the time out of their packed schedules to meet them. “It was incredibly meaningful to hear the stories of three prominent Jewish women working in government, especially after coming from the Holocaust Museum,” said Gabi Lefkowitz (’23). “It really showed me how far the Jewish people have come since then, and it was a nice full-circle moment for the day.”

Inspired by the visit to Washington, DC, participants in the “From the Ashes” program immediately continued preparing for their interviews with Holocaust survivors. Each student will have the privilege of speaking to a survivor and will work in groups to record, edit, and present a short film about those stories. The interviews will be taking place in early March, and the videos will be presented to the entire Central student body and faculty on Yom HaShoah.