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The Council-run Hackney Museum has been working with Simon Marks Jewish School and members of the local community to create a Jewish Treasures workshop for the Museum, which uncovers fascinating stories behind Jewish settlements in Hackney.
The workshop is available for schools to book throughout the year and uses suitcases, objects, diary extracts, letters and photographs to tell real-life stories of four Jewish people who have settled in Hackney over the past 150 years.
Assuming the role of history detectives, pupils from Years 3 – 5 trialled the workshop and enjoyed searching for clues while learning more about Hackney’s Jewish citizens and the many reasons why they have moved to the borough.
A year three pupil at Simon Marks School said: “We learnt that Jews migrated from all over Europe to Hackney. Some Jewish children had to suddenly leave their families with only a small suitcase with their special personal belongings like a family photo, book and their favourite toy. They must have felt lonely and scared to move to a new country and live with people they didn’t know. But they overcame this by becoming successful in their learning and becoming an author or a doctor.”
The session enabled the children to share their own stories of why their families had moved to Hackney and the sorts of things they treasured. Not all of the children were Jewish but all the children had a family experience to share.
Linda Kijowski, teacher at Simon Marks Jewish School, said: “I found that Jewish Treasures helped to support both the Jewish studies and PSHE curriculum. It was great for the children to learn that non-Jewish children from other Hackney schools would be learning about the borough’s rich Jewish heritage and culture through this session.”
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Health & Community Services said “It’s important that children in Hackney learn all about the many different cultures and communities that surround them. The Jewish Treasures workshop is an informed, interactive and engaging way to learn about and to celebrate the borough’s vibrant Jewish heritage.”
Jewish Treasures is now available for all Hackney schools to book. For more information or to book a session for your school call the Hackney Museum on 020 8356 2529 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Hackney Museum visit; www.hackney.gov.uk/cm-museum.htm