Guest post by CBJ teaching assistant, Diana Ningen.
Along with her fellow teaching assistants at Religious School, Diana Ningen was prompted to reflect on Anne Frank’s life by Sooze Protter, the director of the CBJ Derech TA’s Program. Sooze wanted the teens to reflect on the experience of sheltering at home, and find resonances with Anne Frank’s story. Diana drew on her studies of the life of Anne Frank, to bring Anne’s story into her own reality of living through the COVID19 pandemic.
“What I have always found most remarkable about Anne Frank is the way she was able to maintain optimism even though her circumstances were less than ideal. While I generally think of myself as an optimistic person, I find that I often fall into the trap of complaining and lashing out when I feel overwhelmed or scared. Among many other things, Anne Frank’s story reminds me to take a step back and focus on the multitude of blessings I have instead of the few things that are going wrong.
Anne Frank’s story, as well as the story of all Jews who lived through the Holocaust, reminds me to take full advantage of the Jewish community. Because they couldn’t hold services and fully celebrate the holidays, I think it’s that much more important that I make the effort to fully participate in all aspects of Jewish life. Over and over again, Jews have been shamed for our beliefs and taken away from our communities. The best revenge against those terrible times is to band together as a community and celebrate our Judaism even louder and prouder. Where people for centuries have tried to hold us down with hate, we must respond with love: love for ourselves, our communities, prayer, tradition, and most of all Torah. We pray that Judaism is never taken away from us again, but we must also promise never to take it away from ourselves.”
Diana Ningen is a senior at San Mateo High School. In the fall of 2020, she will be going to Butler University, in Indiana, where she plans to major in elementary education.