History Project Uncovering the Lives of Local Seniors – Patch.com

Posted By on March 5, 2020

For nearly six months, a group of eighth graders from Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School has made the short trek to Moldaw senior living community for a unique history project the exploration of residents' lives.

"The school was looking for a way to build intergenerational connections and through the Better Together program, funded by the Legacy Heritage Fund, we have been able to facilitate meaningful interactions between students and older adults," said Arielle Hendel, Moldaw's fund development director.

Once or twice a month, students visit the Palo Alto community for about an hour. Questions prepared in advance, such as, "What's your definition of freedom?" or "What's your definition of justice?" help them compile comprehensive biographies of the residents they're paired with.

Gena Brigham, Moldaw's lifestyles director, says a common thread between students and residents is a shared Jewish heritage. "We have amazing residents who've lived amazing lives," said Brigham, who adds about 10 residents currently participate in the project. "I asked, 'Why don't you share your story?' We got an amazing response."

After months of meetings and hours of conversation, the goal is to create a generation-to-generation book that will be assembled later this spring.

"Students compile stories through the lens of questions," said Ora David-Gittelson, Director of Jewish Studies at Gideon Hausner and program administrator, who added this is the first year of a four-year partnership with the school. "The intent is to nurture a shared value system and core beliefs through this experience. Between meetings, students spend time reflecting on their experiences, learning Jewish values and texts and preparing for their meetings."

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History Project Uncovering the Lives of Local Seniors - Patch.com

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