'From the Depths of Emotion and Awareness': Educational Program Development and Non - Formal Activities of the Youth Travel to Poland under the Ministry of Education 1988 - 2008


Source: Hagira – Israel Journal of Migration vol. 5, 2016 pages 99-121


The youth trips to Poland that the educational establishment conducts through the Society and Youth Administration in the Ministry of Education have, for more than twenty years, been an important part of the instilment of the memory of the Holocaust and its meanings among the school students of Israel, and the shaping of their Jewish awareness. This article will present the way in which the non - formal education system within the Ministry of Education consolidates collective memory for deepening 'Jewish awareness' among the youths who take part in the trips to Poland, by examining the development of the educational program, "It is my Brother Whom I Seek" (" Et Achi Ani Mevakesh ") between 1988 and 2008 , and by analyzing its learning materials, produced by the administration and its associates: Masua and Moreshet centers, Yad Vashem, etc. This historical - educational study enables learning about the processes of planning and development, ways of assimilating the (non - formal) educational system's policies, and the inputs required to this end.

There have been 36 educational programs and activity materials published, primarily by the administration’s partners. The first four "readers" define the content and sites that would build the narrative of the trip. Significant changes in the goals and principles of the trip have not been made. Notable for its absence is a centralizing educational program on the subject of the youth missions to Poland and a profound discussion of the necessity of the trips. However, the central elements of the program were found in the Ministry General Manager's circular on the subject. The goals can be found in the narrative presented by the guides, the Holocaust survivors and the accompanying educators (the most influential 'educational agents,' who are trained by the administration). The narrative appears through the various sites and monuments, molded through symbolic messages in ceremonies and conversations that take place in the evenings at the hotels. All of these meaningful experiences enrich the students’ learning about the Holocaust and the history of the Jews during that time, thereby influencing and shaping the participants' Jewish awareness.

Through the preparatory processes in the schools, as well as those that take place at the various sites in Poland, emotion initially plays a central role. Over time, the cognitive aspects become strengthened and the process unfolds into a promise of loyalty and a sense of belonging "from the depth of emotion and awareness." The employment of tools of non-formal education amplifies the experiences that take place during the trip to Poland and its preparations in Israel, enriching the learning about the Holocaust.

Updated: Sep. 08, 2016