15 March 2006

Reading The Diary of Anne Frank

Bell: Ding! Ding! Ding!
Class: Awwwwwwwww! I was really getting into it!
Me: !!
Julia: Wow, Ms. Backes, you actually found something that we like!
Me: I'm... I'm not really sure what's going on! Who are you? Where are my real students??


Kid reading part of Edith Frank: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
Eliza: Um, Miss Backes?
Me: Yes?
Eliza: Isn't that, like, from the BIBLE?
Me: (checking the notes in the teacher's edition) Yep, it's psalm 121.
Eliza: I don't get it.
Me: Um, what?
Eliza: They're Jews, right?
Me: Right. That's why they're hiding from the Nazis.
Eliza: Then why are they reading the BIBLE?
Judah: Yeah, I thought Jews didn't believe in God.
Me: (taken aback) Oh. Okay, that's a good question. Um, okay. So who knows the basic difference between christians and jews?
Judah: They don't believe in God, right?
Me: No. They believe in God. In fact, they share a part of the Bible with Christians: the Old Testament. But while Christians believe that Jesus was a divine figure, an actual god, Jews believe that he was a prophet, but not a god.
Sam: That's all?
Me: Well... that's the big one.
Eliza: Uh uh! Uh uh! They don't celebrate CHRISTMAS.
Me: Um, right. Because Christmas is about celebrating Jesus, right?
Judah: Oooooohhhhhh, I get it!
Sam: So Jews are basically a lot like us?
Me: Pretty much.
Sam: How come Hitler wanted to kill them so bad?
Me: I really don't know. I guess when you're looking for differences instead of similarities, little things can seem pretty big.
Judah: That's messed up. They're not even that different.
Me: True. But even if they were, no one deserves to live in fear like the Franks and Van Daans had to. No cultural or religious group, no matter how different, deserves to be exterminated.
Eliza: Miss Backes? Was Hitler insane or something?
Me: I don't know. I really don't.
Eliza: How could he kill all those people, for one little difference?
Judah: That's messed, yo.
Me: I agree.

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