Saturday, January 15, 2022

Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom by Ariel Berger

Genre: Adult, Biography
Source: I purchased a copy

The conversation started like this, “I was reading the most wonderful book last night and I finished it in class today. I will let you borrow it if you like.”  Any time someone starts a conversation like this I know it will be a book I must read.  This statement was made by my co-worker. Together we teach a holocaust unit on different grade levels. We have both taught “Night”. Had it not been for her I never would have known about this book. 

 The author, Ariel Burger was a student and friend of Elie Wiesel. The book is written from notes, conversations and lessons he had learned over the years from this man. This book is a look at life, faith, doubt and so much more as seen through Elie’s eyes and through the lens of the lessons learn through the holocaust. In this book we see how the past affects and shapes the future.  It makes us question our beliefs no matter what our religious beliefs. It is through questioning that I believe we learn more about ourselves and about our beliefs. This book made me do exactly what I tell my students I want them to do. It made me think about the past and make connections to the present and to the future. It made me question my religious beliefs. So many times I had students tell me they don’t know what they believe. I never understood that until I read this book. I don’t think they were saying they didn’t know, so much as they didn’t really understand their beliefs.  One of the questions asked in the book was whether faith and doubt could co-exist. I thought about Thomas in the Bible. He was called doubting Thomas because of his doubt, yet his faith was strong.  No matter what your religious beliefs I believe this is an excellent book to read and I definitely recommend it, especially for  those who have read Elie Wiesel’s books.

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