During the fall of my freshman year in high school, my chorus teacher, Mrs. Huff introduced us to a song we would be doing for our fall concert, Ose Shalom. While she was describing the song to us, she told us that it was written during the Holocaust, as one of the songs the Jewish people sung in Hebrew to comfort themselves at that time. She went even more in depth to tell us about the test and trials the Jewish people had to endure during that horrific time. As we learned the words to the song, she gave us the English translation, which at the time struck me as simple, but very meaningful: “ He who makes peace in high places, he will make peace for us and for all Israel and let us say, Amen.” The entire context behind the song really helped, because it really provided me the opportunity to tap into the spirit of the piece’ as we performed it and feel some of the hope mixed with despair that was expressed in the song.
Singing that song and learning the rich story behind it really opened my eyes to the cultures of my peers. I soon began to widen my group of friends and I found myself connecting with people I would’ve never even talked to before. That experience also raised my interest in my own background, and made me start asking my older relatives about my family’s history. I began to “dig for clues” on what hardships and difficulties my family may have had to endure, like the people of the Holocaust, to see if even people of different races could share