Dalton High School freshman in advanced English were lucky to hear expert Chaim Charyn speak in relation to their summer reading assignment of "The Book Thief."
The novel is set in Nazi Germany and is told from the point of view of a young girl who loses her family and becomes an orphan/foster child.
The novel focus was that of intolerance and how power (left unchecked) can lead to destruction, and more importantly, how seemingly good people can do horrific things in the name of normalcy.
Mr. Charyn is a Jewish American speaker/lecturer/writer from Chattanooga. His focus included:
-using your voice to stand up for those marginalized
-being the ONE that makes a change
-the ripple effect of that change
-bullying and its impact on our world
-why people feel the need to make some "less" and how to overcome that
-creating a culture of inclusiveness
An interesting moment was at the end when he had all 250 students singing "It's a Small World After All" in several different languages. His point being that while it "sounds different" on the surface, underneath the "melody" is the same.
Charyn was born in the Bronx, New York and attended New York City Schools before going on to receive his degree in Hebraic Studies from Hunter College. He received his Master's in Judaic studies from NYU and served as the Director of Judaic Studies at the Chattanooga Jewish Day School. He spent twenty-three years with Hamilton County Schools and is also a research assistant in Yiddish translations.