BARBARA GUTFREUND ARFA CONFERENCE

Our annual Barbara Gutfreund Arfa Professional Development Conference on Holocaust Education provides educators with innovative resources and techniques to teach students about the Holocaust. We also highlight educational resource materials developed by the International School for Holocaust Studies of Yad Vashem.

The Conference’s impact is effective and dramatic: over its 22 year history, the Conference, through its thousands of participants, has touched more than 100,000 students. In 2019, over 190 educators attended the Conference, which was organized by Marlene Warshawski Yahalom, PhD, Director of Education of the American Society. The Conference represents a continued collaborative effort among the American Society, the Association of Teachers of Social Studies of the United Federation of Teachers, the Educators’ Chapter of the UFT Jewish Heritage Committee, and the School of Education of Manhattanville College.

For the Conference and its other educational works, the American Society received the 2015 President’s Award for its contributions to social studies education nationally. The award commends the American Society for implementing best educational practices in using documents, inquiry, critical thinking and action for studying the Holocaust. The Conference is one of many educational programs developed by the American Society for Yad Vashem.

The Conference is named in memory of Barbara Gutfreund Arfa, z’l, a longstanding supporter of the American Society. It is sponsored by the Barbara Gutfreund Arfa Endowment Fund for Holocaust Education, which was created by Harvey Arfa and Caroline and Morris Massel as a tribute to Barbara Arfa’s commitment to Holocaust education.  It sponsors the Conference and other important educational initiatives.

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Workshops

How to Read Between the Lines: Classroom Strategies for the Information Age

This workshop will identify patterns of propaganda as a tool to manipulate public opinion and social behavior. Participants will explore the role of propaganda in the Holocaust and the resurgence of such trends in the Modern world. Strategies for classroom use and project-based learning will be introduced.

AGAINST THE LAW: DOES THE PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME?
This workshop will highlight the relationship between law and the Holocaust. Participants will consider how laws are enforced when a legal system is manipulated to harm its citizens instead of protect them. What is the role of law enforcement? What strategies did the Nazi regime implement to deny Holocaust victims their humanity? Is there a connection between this process and the ultimate creation of human rights legislation? Contemporary issues will be considered with application for the classroom.

FIRSTHAND ACCOUNTS: THE POWER OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY
This workshop focuses on survivor and witness testimonies as a tool for teaching students about the Holocaust. Witness accounts of discrimination through legal, economic and social sanctions throughout Europe will be studies and analyzed for classroom use. Participants will also review principles of the pedagogical connections: intellectual rigor, emotional engagement, ethical reflection, and informed civic participation.

FACTS AND FAQS ON HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: RESEARCH TOOLS FOR THE CLASSROOM
An introduction to online learning tools developed by Yad Vashem using the rich inventory of its archives online learning tools and pedagogy. Online resources will be introduced and reviewed for practical applications in the classroom. Key concepts of Holocaust history and connections to modern day events will be identified and evaluated. This workshop will identify strategies to empower students to evaluate these trends, develop informed and sustainable responses and build resilience to prejudice and extremist ideologies.

A GRANDFATHER’S TALE: HOW TO DOCUMENT HISTORY
This workshop introduces educators to the use of qualitative research methods to record family histories. Research tools and data sources include face-to-face interviews, personal journals, testimonials and online search engines. Participants will learn how the author, a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, turned her grandfather’s testimony into a bestselling book, written as a gift to her grandfather and a valuable educational resource entitled What Papa Told Me