- What is empathy? What is compassion? When have you felt empathy and/or compassion for something or someone? What provoked this feeling in you? Did you do anything as a result?
Dennis Barr is the Director of Program Evaluation at Facing History and Ourselves, as well as a psychologist. He is a Lecturer of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He was the principal investigator for the Carnegie Corporation of New York-funded research entitled, Intergroup relations among youth: a study of the impact and processes of Facing History and Ourselves. The Ostracism Case Study emerged from this project. Barr has published articles based on his research on social and ethical development and risk taking behavior in adolescents.
Friedrich Ebert was a German politician and leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Ebert began his professional life as a saddle maker, and became active in his labor union before joining the Social Democratic Party. While an elected member of the Reichstag (German legislature), Ebert became a leader of the SPD. He supported the war effort during World War One, although he opposed the expansionist war aims and lost three sons. Following the abdication of the Kaiser at the end of the war, Ebert was given the unenviable task of leading the transitional government. One of Ebert’s first challenges was a rebellion from the radical left, which he put down in alliance with the conservative generals. The National Assembly chose Ebert to serve as President of the Republic. Committed to democracy and to the Republic, Ebert struggled to represent all of the people of Germany.
George Grosz was a "German American expressionist painter and illustrator. Born in Berlin, he studied art at the Royal Academy, Dresden, the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin, and the Academie Colarossi, Paris, and served in the army in World War I (1914-1918)."
During the Weimar years, Stresemann became the leader of the German People’s Party . Stresemann struggled to maintain party support for the Republic despite the anti-democratic forces within the German People's Party.
Reading Sholem Aleichem’s writing serves a dual purpose. First, it exposes us to the life and culture of Jews in a particular time and place—eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. Second, it allows us to connect history to our own lives, as any encounter with great literature does. Of course, recognizing connections between oneself and the life of someone who lived a century ago is a difficult task, especially considering that the particular world Sholem Aleichem wrote about is gone—transformed by modernization, and then eventually destroyed by the Holocaust. However, literature—because of its suggestive power—can serve as a bridge to the past.
These three lessons are centered on excerpts from the documentary film Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness by Joseph Dorman. The film looks at Sholem Aleichem’s life and the culture of the shtetl through several of his short stories, among them "On Account of a
Listen to music recordings and narration paired with The Children of Willesden Lane book and accompanying teacher's guide.