A few posts ago I mentioned that I went to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. I started writing this then and am attempting to finish it now. These are strictly my own opinions and my thoughts are still continuing to evolve.
Firstly, this is the second time I have been there. I went last spring as a chaperone with the 7th graders in my school. At that time I was impressed and pleased with the way they approach this topic with children. They have an interactive video game (has to do with strong v. weak) using animated frogs. I'm not describing it well but the message reached the kids. They heard a survivor speak (not of a concentration camp but he escaped the war as a young boy-do you use the word that way, I'm just curious?), and watched a movie about genocide as it relates to the world. I DID NOT see the main exhibit -it wasn't finished yet so I can't speak to that.
The recent time I went I did not see any of the museum, but was there for a professional development on the differences of Eastern v. Western Europe at the time of the Holocaust. The presentation was very well done and I learned a lot of facts that I previously did not know.
Now come the issues.
They provided dinner for those who attended the class but had NO KOSHER FOOD. I asked specifically and was told they served a "kosher style" meal and I was told that I could purchase a sandwich at their cafe-they carry some kosher sandwiches. I understand that most of the people who attend those meetings and go to the museum aren't Jewish or don't keep kosher, but what about those that do? Of all places I expected to be respected for mitzva observance. I mean my husband gets treated better than that at his work! They allow him to bring in kosher food for everyone, pay for a separate meal for him, etc. And he works for corporate America.
But all this food stuff led to a bigger issue in my mind. I am truly not trying to offend anyone, so I apologize in advance if I do-I know this is a touchy subject. It just really seems that they have removed the Judaism from being Jewish. Our belief system. Our religion. Where is that recognized? Are we a race, a culture only? Personally, I don't believe this to be true. We might be those but we also have a belief system. Other races (African-American, Hispanics, etc.) are all defined by cultural similarities but they don't all believe in the same ideologies. In order to identify yourself with Judaism (really and truly-not just by birth) you HAVE to have the belief in one G-D. That belief is a significant reason why we have been persecuted throughout the past. And that doesn't seem to be a focus. This Museum and Education Center has made this all about history. Their approach is intellectual, not emotional. And while I guess that has a place, I think that is a gross inservice to those that experienced the horror of that time.
As I have stated previously, these are just my perceptions. They do not reflect anyone else's views. Even though I started writing this post weeks ago, I am still feeling pretty emotional about it. It still just doesn't sit right with me.
What do you think? Am I way off in left field? Or do I make sense?