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YU News

Journalists Jonah Kaplan and Shira Hanau Guide Names, Not Numbers Students

This year marks the 14th year that Names, Not Numbers INC©, the celebrated documentary series created by Tova Fish-Rosenberg where students produce documentaries of interviews with Holocaust survivors, will be offered to seniors at both the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA) and the Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central).

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, Jonah Kaplan, an investigative reporter with ABC11 Eyewitness News, returned to MTA to help the students learn important interview techniques in preparation for their upcoming interviews with Holocaust survivors. “You are speaking with Jewish heroes, and you have a heroic task ahead of you,” Kaplan said to the group. “The mitzvah that you are undertaking in this project is one of the greatest responsibilities you will bear in your lifetime.”

Jonah Kaplan (left) counsels two students on interviewing techniques

Group photos of Names, Not Number students, MTA

On Thursday, Oct. 31, Shira Hanau, staff writer for The Jewish Week, gave an interviewing workshop at Central. To Hanau, memory and stories are central to Judaism, and “my job is really a privilege because I get to take a first pass at creating communal memory, writing the stories that one day will become part of a broader narrative in the story of the Jewish people.” She added that “these students participating in Names, Not Numbers ensure that the stories of yesterday aren’t forgotten in the face of what’s new today. It’s critical that every generation remembers what came before and make the connections between where we came from, where we are now and where we’re headed. I hope that by teaching some of the skills the students will use in their interviews with survivors, I can contribute to the telling of more Jewish stories.”

Shira Hauna works with a student on how to ask the right questions

Group photo of Central students working on Names, Not Numbers