We visited the Museum of Jewish Heritage on our first week of the internship. We very much enjoyed getting to know the High School Apprentices on the tour of the Museum. In the beginning, there was an activity where we were given artifacts which represented the identity of all the interns. Then, in groups, we had to cooperate to come to a consensus as to what the various artifacts meant. In a way, the activity’s bigger idea was reflecting towards the importance of heritage and identity of people.
Interestingly, the idea of heritage from the activity connected to the mission of the Museum. Their mission is to not only be a living memorial to those who perished in the Holocaust, but also to cherish the traditions they embraced and affirm the vibrant worldwide Jewish community that is their legacy today. The activity was very individual and personal since we all brought in objects of our own but it also represented the importance of our heritage and identity.
This experience reminded me a lot of about my own people, the Tibetans. So many Tibetans who are suppressed by the Chinese government sadly end up self-immolating; it’s their only path to get attention from the world. By contrast, we in the U.S have the great privilege to freely speak and write about what we wish without censorship. As time passes, if there aren’t enough groups trying to advocate and preserve the Tibetan culture, they will lose their power of being Tibetans and most importantly their culture, religion and tradition. Thus, having museums like the Museum of Jewish Heritage reminds me of the importance of documenting tragedies while also representing the actual Jewish community. And I one day wish that it will also happen for the Tibetan community.
This trip not only taught us about the various exhibits, but also allowed our group to reflect on what it means to give a good tour. We learned a lot from the group and we thank the Museum of Jewish Heritage for hosting us. Can’t wait to host you guys for our tour of “The Civil War in 50 Objects”!
– Chemi Chemi