An oral history given by Susan Germaine

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Me with my Aunt Sue

Over thanksgiving break I traveled to New York to visit my relatives. I stayed with my great-aunt, my grandmother’s sister, Aunt Sue. She is my family’s tradition bearer. She carries the torch of passing down Max’s story to the ensuing generations. My goal was to get the necessary information to continue passing down my family’s story, and to learn more about what my grandmother, Carol, was like when she was younger. Aunt Sue has already sent documents and artifacts related to Max’s journey to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. These artifacts can be seen on display today. She is not only diligent but hilarious. We had a great time in New York. My visit was filled with laughs, leisure and lessons. …

A Project Proposal

Atlanta, Georgia

August 20th, 2018

It was just like any other Monday morning here in Athens, the sun shined into my small yet to be decorated room I share with my best friend, the abrupt thuds of people opening and closing their doors fill the hallway as I slowly reach for my phone to turn off my alarm. However, unlike most mornings where I receive a “you better be up” text from my loving Jewish mother, I notice three missed calls from my mom and two from my dad. I instantly recognize something was terribly wrong. …

A biography

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Me on the far right at Davis

Growing up, I went to a small reform Jewish day school, The Davis Academy. At Davis we had: services every Tuesday and Thursday morning for about 30 minutes, an hour service on Friday afternoons, one class everyday dedicated to learning the Hebrew language, and another related to Judaic studies ,focused on biblical stories. After Davis, I attended my zoned public high school, North Springs. I would seldomly proclaim my Judaism proudly to my classmates. I don’t know why. Maybe because I was embarrassed, or maybe I was frightened they would think less of me. Whatever the case may have been it has assuredly changed. …

A Wild Card Project

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Max Goodman with his sister, Berta, and her daughter, Lily

The following video is my “Wild Card” project. It highlights the journey my family took to get to where we are today. The journey begins in 1907; along the way we encounter both the good times and the bad. It was only through our strength in faith and connection with one another that we were capable of bouncing back from losing everything.

*See sources at bottom*

Within the video, I emphasize my family and the Holocaust. As Jews we must make sure we never forget the events that transpired in the late 1930’s and early-mid 1940’s. I feel confident, if the audience visualizes the atrocities committed by the Nazis and the plight of the Jews, they will have a greater understanding of why our Jewish identity is so strong and so important. The story of Max Goodman should never be lost in history, it should be passed down. …

An Annotated Bibliography

“If one little Jewish boy survives without any Jewish education, with no synagogue and no Hebrew school, it [Judaism] is in his soul. Even if there had never been a synagogue or a Jewish school or an Old Testament, the Jewish spirit would still exist and exert its influence. It has been there from the beginning and there is no Jew, not a single one, who does not personify it.” I bet you’ll never guess who said these, taken out of context, empowering remarks on the strength and connectivity associated with Judaism and its identity. If you managed to guess the most ruthless, wicked, sickening human being of the past millennia Adolf Hitler you would be correct. If taken out of context this quote speaks significantly to an individual’s ability to identify with Judaism. I was born to a Jewish father and Baptist mother who converted shortly thereafter. My family and I consider ourselves Reformed Jews. We associate more with the lessons and values instilled within Judaism to craft our ethical and moral compasses, contrary to Judaism being a statue of strict laws. In my personal belief, a person’s Jewish identity has nothing to do with how they practice, but the stout connection they feel towards fellow Jews and the faith itself. Personally, I see Judaism as the glue keeping my family connected and as a place to look for strength. My late grandmother Carol Kamean had a very close connection with Judaism and took great pride in being Jewish. She used Judaism to keep our family together by encouraging us to have bar/bat mitzvahs, to celebrate high holidays together, and to appreciate our Jewish heritage. I always looked up to how proud she was to identify as a Jew because many are still reluctant to do so. …

Max Kamean

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