On Campus | Post-Its

THA Humanities Students Walk in Another’s Shoes; The Power of Storytelling and Empathy

At Tucson Hebrew Academy (THA), students are steeped in the Jewish experience, making them uniquely positioned to understand and find common ground with all groups of people that have been oppressed. Using the curriculum, “Facing History and Ourselves” in conjunction with hands-on projects, middle-school humanities students have focused on the choices of individuals who experienced history as victims, witnesses, collaborators, rescuers, and perpetrators, encouraging them to recognize our shared humanity.


Several field trips have complimented their studies. This month, 7th and 8th grade students attended two amazing plays. The first, Tom Dugan’s one-man play, Weisenthal at the Invisible Theatre, which tells the story of a Jewish Holocaust survivor who became internationally famous for relentlessly pursuing and bringing to justice nearly 1,100 Nazi war criminals. The second, Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is an updated take on the story of young Scout Finch and her brother Jem witnessing the many injustices that take place during the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of assaulting a white woman in the town of Maycomb, Ala.

These moving performances offer one more brick in the foundation of knowledge that THA students are building on the importance of empathy, intersectionality, and resilience. Next year, the 7th graders will add to this foundation with a Civil Rights trip to Alabama! Traveling to Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma and the Legacy Museum in Tuskegee will be a pivotal experience in their lives, giving context to suffering in a way that promotes strength and compassion.

THA is excited for the incredible opportunities given to their students to make connections between history and the consequences of modern-day actions and beliefs, which, according to historian Doris Bergen, helps us to see the Holocaust not just as part of European or Jewish history but as “an event in human history,” and confirms the relevance of this history in our world today.