Asking Good Questions

Yesterday, our 10th graders took part in a lunch talk with Dr. Ingrid Anderson, the Associate Director of BU’s Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies. Dr. Anderson, who received her doctorate at BU, took many classes with Elie Wiesel when he was a professor here, worked closely with him, and has done a great deal of research and writing focused on Wiesel and his work. The students are in the midst of a unit in their history course exploring the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel. They recently read Elie Wiesel’s Night, the famous memoir of Wiesel’s experience at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during the Holocaust, and will be reading Wiesel’s Dawn shortly, a fictional work set in the immediate postwar period. Dr. Anderson shared personal stories about what Wiesel was like as a teacher and mentor, explored his views on morality and politics, described the hundreds of pieces of correspondence he received daily, and celebrated Wiesel’s lifelong advocacy for human rights. How rare and special to get this kind of first-hand view into the life and mind of such an important historical figure.

The talk made a powerful impression on me. So too did the students’ questions. They asked about the line between morality and politics; how Wiesel might react to contemporary events in America and in the Middle East; what his relationship with God was like and how it changed as he went through life; how he squared the horrors he had experienced with his faith; his connection with the Book of Job; and more. The ability to ask good questions is a critical skill, particularly now – in an era where misinformation and disinformation are rampant, social media feeds and news outlets cater to our points of view, and society and politics push us into ideological silos. bbin娱乐平台’s curriculum has always had critical thinking – and questioning – at its core. It was inspiring to see that in action.

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