Beyond Boundaries

The fourth and final unit I teach each year is entitled “A Nation Divided and Rebuilt.” The content begins with the events leading up to the American Civil War, moves to the actual fighting of the war, and ends with the period of Reconstruction. Specifically, this unit highlights the economic, political and social tension that ensued between the North and South throughout the mid to late 1800s. Though the harsh realities endured during the Bosnian War occurred over one hundred years later, I push my historians to draw connections to the concepts of change and unity beyond difference. In our current unit, the essential question my students wrestle with is “At what point should people fight to defend deeply held beliefs?” This question directly addresses the humanity and conviction of La Benevolecija.
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Survival in Sarajevo -- Friendship in a Time of War

The story of how an old synagogue in the Bosnian war zone became a beacon of hope for everyone. During the Bosnian war (1992-1995), the Jewish community of Sarajevo refused to take sides, opened their own humanitarian aid agency inside the city's synagogue, and were soon joined by their Muslim, Croat and Serbian friends. While outside of the besieged Bosnian capital, nationalist politicians swore these ethnic groups could not get along, here's a group of people who never got the memo. In this European war, Jews were not the victims. In this war, Jews were saving Muslims and Christians.

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