And thou shalt tell thy son: Holocaust Commemoration Day Ceremony
An enrichmentcourse in the program: Studies toward a Specialization Certificate in the Didactics of Teaching Teaching the Holocaust
An interactive and interdisciplinary ceremony for preserving the memory of the Holocaust
Teaching the Holocaust in educational settings is accomplished, in most cases, according to patterns and formats that provide the pupils with a partial, possibly distant, acquaintance with the various facets and aspects of the Holocaust. In most schools, the topic is studied in the days preceding Holocaust Commemoration Day; occasionally it is dealt with during the Holocaust Commemoration Day Ceremony itself.
In some educational institutions, the teachers who teach the subject are either devoid of motivation or lack the appropriate training that would enable them to cope with such a complex and charged topic. In most cases, this type of attitude or the inappropriate ways of teaching engender stereotypical and anarchistic learning that succeeds mainly in distancing the pupils from the topic and, in certain cases, in demeaning it.
The above comments give rise to the following questions: What can be done? How can things be changed? How can the interest, motivation and ability to identify with the topic be instilled in the pupils? How can they be taught in a different manner – a manner that is more touching, attentive, and caring? How is it possible to apply educational teaching that opens up broader horizons, thus enabling the young generation to cope on an everyday level with their existential questions as human beings and as a society, at the same time fostering their ability to listen, observe, and exhibit sensitivity toward other people?
And thou shalt tell thy son, a course for preserving the memory of the Holocaust, aims to respond to the above questions in a manner that combines interactive and interdisciplinary activity. The course is intended for teachers who wish to touch their pupils' souls in a different way.
The course stresses the importance of the commemoration ceremony in both the personal and public discourse that deals with the familiar and charged story called the Holocaust. The way of teaching the course, in which personal experiential-creative activity is included within the overall learning framework of the topic, helps the learners identify with the topic and study it in a more personal and involved manner.
Questions pertaining to the nature of the ceremony and its relevance in our lives today, the examination and study of the Jewish ceremony through the generations, and the place of the Holocaust Commemoration Day Ceremony in the array of Jewish and universal ceremonies constitute the learning axis of the course. The course combines the theoretical-cognitive aspect with the creative-experiential aspect.
The Holocaust is a formative event in the history of both the Jewish people and of the whole of humanity. The correct study of its various components helps us create a stable democratic society and influences the entire spectrum of relations among ourselves – the members of the Jewish people, and between us and non-Jews. Thus, the topic of the Holocaust as a formative component in our personal and collective identity as human beings triggers an internal dialog about those values, a discussion that will lead us to form our image as people who are more moral, caring, tolerant, and sensitive toward others.