The words of the Admor (Grand Rabbi) of Talne echoed poignantly at the main session of Yad Vashem's Tenth Annual Conference for Teachers from the Ultra-Orthodox Sector in Israel, which took place on July 6-7, 2016. Close to 2,000 ultra-Orthodox educators, principals and school inspectors – men and women separately – took part in the conference, which was organized by the Ultra-Orthodox Section of the Department for Teacher Training in Israel at the International School for Holocaust Studies. “This conference marks the peak of the intensive work of the Ultra-Orthodox Section, which has been active at Yad Vashem for 15 years, in the world of Torah-based education,” explained Sarit Hoch-Markovitz, Director of the Department for Teacher Training in Israel. “It was on the one hand an opportunity to summarize our achievements, and on the other an opening for future activities aimed at bringing ultra-Orthodox teachers the newest pedagogical tools and knowledge in the fields of Holocaust education and research, while emphasizing the struggle of observant Jews during the Holocaust.”
This year, the conference dealt with “Continuity within the Rupture” – and the sessions and workshops investigated many aspects of the struggle of Jews to continue their religious faith and practices despite the terrible physical and spiritual cruelties imposed upon them by the Nazis. Participants were provided with key educational concepts and pedagogical tools to help guide them in their Holocaust teaching.
The main address for the female teachers was given by Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, who has actively accompanied the activities of the Ultra Orthodox Section for many years.
The conferences for both men and women were highlighted by musical interludes, including a Jewish musical journey through the Valley of the Communities for the women teachers, played by students of the “Avivim” seminary for girls.