By Warren Shalewitz
My mentor was my 7th grade Social Studies teacher, at Junior High School 109 in Queens Village, NY, Mr. Marvin Polonsky. Early on he taught us that history is a living subject, not just the the memorization of dates and events for an exam. He explained how we can learn from the past and also that people do not always learn lessons from the past. Now 50 years later working at the Museum of Jewish Heritage I see how wise his words were. Lessons are learned and not.
Mr. Polonsky came up with unique projects to create interest for the class. One that particularly stands out was a map of Manhattan done with paper mache and made to scale. We all were able to participate by putting pieces of wood which were scale models of the blocks of the borough. When completed the map was exhibited at the NYC Building in Flushing Meadows Park which now houses the Queens Museum of Art. Just recently Mr. Plonsky, now retired, visited the Museum. It was really nice to see the best teacher that I had as a NYC student.