Through impactful professional development programming and organizational partnerships, the American Society for Yad Vashem Education Department raises awareness about the Holocaust and empowers and sustains educators nationwide to bring the lessons of the Holocaust to their classrooms. We also disseminate Holocaust education resources developed by Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies to promote the mission of Yad Vashem to remember, honor and memorialize the Holocaust through education.
BARBARA GUTFREUND ARFA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 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 and sustain the lessons of this event for present and future generations.
The Conference’s impact is effective and dramatic: over its 24 year history, the Conference, through its thousands of participants, has touched more than 100,000 students. In 2021, over 260 educators attended the Conference, which was organized by Marlene Warshawski Yahalom, PhD, Director of Education of the American Society for Yad Vashem. The Conference represents a continued collaborative effort among the American Society for Yad Vashem, the Association of Teachers of Social Studies of the United Federation of Teachers, the Educators’ Chapter of the UFT Jewish Heritage Committee, and Manhattanville College School of Education.
For the Conference and its other educational works, the American Society for Yad Vashem received the 2015 President’s Award for its contributions to social studies education nationally. The award commends the American Society for Yad Vashem 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 for Yad Vashem and is sponsored by the Barbara Gutfreund Arfa Endowment Fund for Holocaust Education. This fund was created by Harvey Arfa and Caroline and Morris Massel as a tribute to Barbara Arfa’s commitment to Holocaust education.
Our Education Department led by our Director of Education, Marlene W. Yahalom, PhD., offers:
- Regional Professional Development Conferences for Educators
- On-Site and/or Virtual Professional Development Workshops
- Pages of Testimony Workshops
- Traveling Exhibitions
- Curriculum Units on the Holocaust
- Holocaust Remembrance and Commemoration Programs
- Speaker and Community Events
- Collaborative events with Yad Vashem Jerusalem
- Co-Sponsorships with National and International Holocaust Education Organizations
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS
And You Shall Tell Your Children: Spiritual Resistance through Survivor Testimonies
This workshop introduces strategies to educators on how to use survivor testimonies and pages of testimony as a resource for studying the Holocaust through themes that are emphasized in Orthodox Jewish Day School curricula. The value of these testimonies as an educational resource is examined and the unique contributions of testimonies as a source of information about spiritual resistance and survival are presented in the context of Jewish tradition. The connection between Jewish history, remembrance and commemoration is also discussed.
Holocaust and Human Rights in the Classroom – strategies and cross-connections
This workshop offers recommendations for cross-connections of subjects taught in the classroom: history and global studies, math, English, and art and theatre, and explores the value of survivors testimonies for use as part of the lesson plans on studying the Holocaust and Human Rights. The value of primary testimony, documents and other forms of primary sources are also reviewed in connection to studying the Holocaust. Challenges to Holocaust remembrance are also introduced; Holocaust denial, and the aging and shrinking population of Holocaust survivors. This topic is also looked at in the context of Genocide and Human Rights as we understand this subject with other historical examples. Character building, bullying and hate crimes are also explored as part of this workshop presentation.
Challenges of Holocaust Denial – the Internet and Beyond
This workshop reviews Holocaust Denial and the dangers it presents to Holocaust memory, history and Jewish history. Participants are introduced to strategies for classroom use to enable them to effectively teach this topic to help students identify Holocaust denial and distinguish between actual and created information about this important topic in history. Websites on Holocaust denial are also identified explored that serve to confuse and distort information about the Holocaust. Resource materials will be distributed to all participants.
Petr Ginz and Ilan Ramon – Historical and Generational Connections
This workshop introduces the student to the Holocaust through one of its most innocent victims – the children. Participants will learn about the unique and meaningful connections between Petr Ginz – victim of Terezinstadt – and Ilan Ramon – Israel’s first astronaut to join NASA in the ill-fated space shuttle mission of 2003. Educators will learn about the unique opportunity to teach about the Holocaust through science and space while simultaneously introducing students to the value of documents and artifacts as part of this connection.
Pages of Testimony – the Importance of Historical Documentation
This workshop introduces the participant to Yad Vashem, its mission and contributions to Holocaust research, documentation, commemoration and remembrance. Pages of Testimony are examined as a resource to preserve the facts of this event for eternity. This workshop includes many themes relevant for classroom use: the relevance of history, honoring the victims, documentation and its connection to Jewish history, ideas for commemorative programs and activities for Yom Hashoah, and how to make this topic meaningful for students of all ages and educators of all grade levels.
For more information:
Marlene W. Yahalom, PhD
Director of Education