MONTREAL, APRIL 28, 2008 - Cycle 3 students from General Vanier Elementary School in St. Léonard have been involved in an incredible sensitization program about the Holocaust and Jewish tradition.
The goal of this cross-curricular project was to bridge the gap between cultures and people and promote the virtues of respect, tolerance and compassion. This sensitization program commenced with a basic history lesson given by Spiritual Community Animator Vince Lacroce about the start of World War II. It included facts on the persecution of the innocent men, women and children who were tragically affected by the war, as well as the liberation of these individuals. Two years ago the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) renamed the former Wagar High School facility in Côte Saint-Luc after Giovanni Palatucci, who saved many Jews during the Holocaust. The goal of that program was to create an ongoing educational program in order for non-Jewish students to learn more about the Holocaust. This activity is one many successful follow-ups, many of which have been organized by Mr. Lacroce.
For the Cycle 3 students, a heartfelt testimonial from a Holocaust survivor, Ernest Ehrmann touched them deeply as he shared the memories of his childhood in a concentration camp. The sensitization program was culminated by a visit to Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount, the largest synagogue in Quebec. Here the students had an opportunity to dialogue with Rabbi Yonah Berman and speak about the importance of music to the Jewish people. They also got to see the synagogue choir perform. The General Vanier students performed a couple of songs for their hosts as well.
The project was coordinated by Mr. Lacroce, Principal Pina Rizzi and Music Teacher Jason Lipstein.