Making the Grade: Lessons in Tolerance

A Massachusetts school is joining a national effort to teach a valuable lesson about tolerance.

Fourth and fifth graders at Cohen Hillel Academy in Marblehead are taking part in The Bandage Project, an initiative launched by a California class in 2008.

"They were trying to collect 1.5 million bandages to represent the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust," said Amy Gold, Head of School at Cohen Hillel.

Gold said The Bandage Project fit in seamlessly with the academy's mission.

"I think being a Jewish day school, we are always trying to teach the kids about opportunities to be upstanders, and to make a difference and be activists in their community," Gold said.

Students have been collecting bandage donations for months. Along the way, teacher Sarah Boland has tied in social studies, language arts, and technology lessons.

"There's a purpose to this and we can learn a lot from this and this should be a big part of our class," said Boland.

It's a chance for students to take on a leadership role, speaking to groups at local public schools and creating videos to spread the word about The Bandage Project.

"I think that we're honoring our ancestors because we're collecting bandages for them and remembering them and keeping them alive in our thoughts," said Belle Lurie, a fifth grader.

"We want them to be able to feel the confidence to stand up to others when they see bigotry or racism or hatred or antisemitism," Gold said.

The Bandage Project is about halfway to its goal of 1.5 million. Once reached, the bandages will become an art installation at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. If you'd like to help, Cohen Hillel is hoping to contribute 5,000 bandages to the cause. Donations can be sent to:

Cohen Hillel Academy

6 Community Rd.

Marblehead, MA 01945

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