Ideas and Suggestions for Honoring Your Remembered Child
Learn More About the Holocaust:
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website includes extensive information education, research, and history appropriate for students, including online exhibits and activities, materials and resources. Education | For Students | Topics to study
Holocaust Education and Resource Centers in the United States and Canada: This comprehensive list of education, research and resource centers can help you locate resources in your local community. Many of the centers can assist in providing access to Holocaust survivors for personal interviews, speakers, etc.
The Holocaust – The Jewish Virtual Library contains articles, original documents, a glossary, a bibliography, and much more, all covering the Holocaust.
Children of the Holocaust: Designed for middle school students to learn more about what happened to children during the Holocaust. This is a resource of the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education and Resource Center.
Read fiction or non–fiction about the Holocaust. There are many excellent books on the Holocaust for students. The ADL website has an annotated list of books appropriate for elementary, middle and high school, as well as lesson plans and fact sheets.
Holocaust Cybrary remembering the Stories of the Survivors - Remember.org. Online Holocaust community founded in 1995 to Remember, Zachor, Sich Erinnern. Offers contributors (survivors, liberators, historians, and teachers) a place to connect and share the best research resources and stories through art, photography, paining, audio/video and remembrance.
Research Your Lost Child:
Yad Vashem: The Holocaust Memorial in Israel. Remember Us partners with Yad Vashem to receive biographies of children compiled from the pages of testimony submitted by survivors, their families, friends and others. To learn how to search the database, we’ve provided instructions.
USC Shoah Institute: More than 52,000 video testimonies of survivors in 32 languages. On the home page of the website, at the top is a link to “The Testimonies”. A search mechanism allows individuals to find and listen to testimonies from survivors in different countries using a range of criteria (place of birth, name, country of origin, current location, etc). These are compelling and personal stories, told by survivors. Doing a search by last name and location may help you locate relatives of your remembered child.
JewishGen – The Home of Jewish Genealogy has an, easy–to–use genealogy website features thousands of databases, research tools, and other resources to help those with Jewish ancestry research and find family members. You can search by surname and country of origin to find information from the general database. JewishGen’s Holocaust Database is the direct link to Holocaust research.
Honoring Your Remembered Child as Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony:
Introduce your Torah portion by reading the name of your lost child and his/her short biography. Know that that child is with you in spirit as you read your portion.
Dvar Torah: Connect remembrance to your torah or haftorah portion, or include something about Remember Us in your speech.
Empty seat: Leave an empty seat on the bima to honor your remembered child.
Personalize A Tallit: A personalized tallit that includes the name of your remembered child is a timeless memorial and reminder. Two stories from past Remember Us newsletters give some examples.
Kaddish: In some congregations it is the tradition to include the names of family members (grandparents, etc) lovingly remembered on this special occasion, during Kaddish. Include the name of your remembered child at this time.
Order a personalized pamphlet to distribute to guests and congregants attending your bar/bat mitzvah. Remember Us – Personalized Materials Request Form
Create a web site just for your bar/bat mitzvah. Include a page about Remember Us and the child you are remembering. Here is an example: “remember us project” (Adam Berlin)
For more stories about how children have chosen to incorporate the Remember Us project into their ceremony, Remember Us – Stories of Remembering.
Do A Mitzvah With Your Remembered Child in your heart
Honor the memory of your child by “doing good” in the world. When you volunteer, think about him/her. Once they were homeless like those you might meet in a shelter. Or hungry, like those you might meet volunteering at a food pantry. Every community has resources for finding teen volunteer opportunities, and many Jewish organizations and congregations create lists of possible opportunities. Check with your congregation, Jewish Federation, or volunteer center for possibilities. In addition, the website listed below can help identify ideas.
How to Choose a Mitzvah Project for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah – My Jewish Learning provides suggestions and links to assist pre–teens in identifying appropriate projects that link Jewish ritual and social action.
Mitzvah Project Ideas | Bnai Mitzvah | Areyvut Areyvut enables Jewish youth to infuse their lives with the core Jewish values of chesed (kindness), tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (social action). The website includes excellent resources for finding mitzvah projects for preteens. They will also work one–on–one with Bar/Bat Mitzvah students and their families to find or develop meaningful social action projects that best meet their interests
Repair the World’s mission is to make service a defining element of Jewish life, learning and leadership. They create effective opportunities to serve, bring more young people into service and connect service to Jewish learning and values. Their search engine can help find a local service project or opportunity.
Social Action | BabagaNewz: BabagaNewz.com is an innovative, educational web site for Jewish middle school students and teachers. The web site will help our readers understand the values that are at the core of Jewish beliefs and practices. BabagaNewz.com will encourage young people to explore Jewish values, traditions, life–cycle events, holidays, and Israel, from perspectives that are novel, hip, fun, thought-provoking, exciting and that will encourage them to continue these explorations with the full power of their imaginations and reflections.
The Union for Reform Judaism Youth Mitzvah Project suggestions can be found at Religious Action Center – Youth Mitzvah Projects/ Bar and Bat Mitzvah Projects
Published by the Tikun Olam Program of United Synagogue Youth, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Department of Youth Activities Mitzvah Heroes Fund, Inc.| 116 Practical Mitzvah Suggestions
Beyond the Bar/Bat Mitzvah: Ways to Continue to Honor and Remember
Choose a date that will be the day you honor him/her every year. This date could be the date of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the death date of the lost child, Yom Kippur, Yom Hashoah, or some other date significant to you and your family. Say Kaddish or study that week's Torah portion b’shem the child you are remembering.
Participate in the March of the Living International. An international, educational program that brings Jewish teens from all over the world to Poland on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest concentration camp complex built during World War II, and then to Israel to observe Yom HaZikaron, Israel Memorial Day, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day. The goal of the March of the Living is for these young people to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and to lead the Jewish people into the future vowing Never Again.
Take an active role in your congregation or community’s Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Ha–Shoah) memorial day commemoration. To find your local commemoration, check with your local Holocaust education center Holocaust Education and Resource Centers or Jewish Federation.Become a Remember Us ambassador. Invite all the students in upcoming bnai mitzvah classes to take on the mitzvah of remembering a lost child. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information about how you and your family can help recruit other students in your congregation to participate. Educate Others: Hilary Miller, a Remember Us participant from Milwaukee, was so moved by what she learned, that she has taken an active role in educating peers and others about the Holocaust. Read about her work with her work as a writer and speaker.