The Israel Education Ministry and Yad Vashem have unveiled a new curriculum to teach the Holocaust starting in kindergarten — the first time the authorities have provided a mandatory program for teaching the Shoah for the entire school system and every age group. The program, which will be launched the coming school year, was announced Thursday, a few days before Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. The aim is to tailor Holocaust studies for each age group at a time when the last generation of Holocaust survivors is dying out.
The Shoah will be taught for two to 15 hours a year, depending on the age group. The program will augment the Holocaust studies that are already part of the curriculum for 11th and 12th graders.
Currently, Israeli students receive some form of Holocaust education; for example, Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked with ceremonies, a two-minute siren and day-long broadcasts on radio and television. The ministry notes that many teachers discuss the Holocaust extensively before Holocaust Remembrance Day; the idea is to train teachers beforehand.
According to the ministry and Yad Vashem, the program also includes “the Jewish-Zionist legacy and the humanist-universalist legacy as central aspects. By these means the transmission of the memory from one generation to the next will be guaranteed. It will become a part of the collective memory of the Jewish people.”
Issues for the higher grades include the crisis created by the Holocaust around the world and in later generations.
Topics include “Between Crisis and Continuity,” “Creativity and Its Meaning in a World of Destruction,” “Jewish Identity in the Holocaust and Afterwards,” “The World After Auschwitz,” “The Believing Jew in Light of the Holocaust” and “Survivors and Their Contribution to the Establishment and Building of the State of Israel.”
Read more in Haaretz.
Read the new Ministry of Education Holocaust Curriculum in Ivrit here.