It is the year 2500. Two visitors to the Smithsonian Institution approach a figure on exhibit entitled "The Last Jew."
"What is a Jew?" one of the visitors asks.
"The Last Jew" explains to them that the Jews were once a strong people, but that years of declining births, assimilation and political strife have left him their sole survivor.
The "musemum visit" took place last Sunday during graduation exercises for students at the Hebrew School of Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah of Potomac. Under the guidance of Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, students wrote and enacted "the museum visit" and six other playlets as part of a "Tour Through Jewish History."
Students who attend the Hebrew School two days a week after school and on Sundays began researching material for their skits two months ago.
"I used 'The Last Jew' episode as a kind of shock treatment," said Goldin, spiritual leader of the synagogue. "We don't think this will ever happen, but I'm offering a challenge," he said.
"We believe that through Jewish education, through children and through studying, there will indeed be a Jewish history" for future generations, he said.
Another scene in the program took the viewer to a history class "anywhere in America" where an instructor was lecturing on the crusades. Following his traditional version of the story a commentator interrupted to add "the Jewish perspective.'
"The crusades were a time of great Jewish persecution," said the commentator, "but you don't find that side told in history books."
"When a Jew reads history," the commentator continued, "it's not only important that he read in terms of the world but in terms of how it affected his people.
Remember," he said, "history books don't always tell the whole story."
In order to illustrate Jewish contributions during the golden era of Jews in Spain (the 12th and 13th centuries), a student portrayed a mad scientist trying to create "The $6 Million Jew," a takeoff on a television show, "The $6 Million Man."
"The $6 Million Jew" that evolved was a combination of three Jewish scholars, all from medieval Spain: Moses Maimonides, a philoospher and physician, provided scholarship in Jewish studies; Isaac Abravanel scholar and adviser to the royal court provided statesmanship, and from Judah Ha-Levia a poet, came the spirit of creativity.
"This era was certainly one of the most productive ages for Jews in our history," said Goldin. "Due to the great freedom the Jews had in Spain during that period, they were able to achieve high government offices and made many great scholarly achievements," said Goldin.
Another period depicted by the students included "The Holocaust," the genocide of 6 million European Jews, through the eyes of aw ghetto family.
Students said they enjoyed learning their history this way. Most said they read about five books researching in their presentations.
"I learned from past experience that if religious studies are presented in an unenjoyable way, students can be turned off to religion," said Goldin "So I came up with this idea. The kids enjoyed it. I think they learned more this way."
Goldin said the history lessons as presented Sunday will make students "proud of their heritage, and feel proud to carry on the Jewish tradition."