Thursday, July 8, 2010
I have to begin by sharing the insight of my daughter. I emailed her telling her that I have not received my luggage yet,the airline has misplaced most of our group's luggage, she emailed me back reminding me the WHY of being here and what it was like to be told that your belongings would be returned to you once you reached your destination but never did.... a small reminder.
Today we spent the entire day at Yad Vashem. It is a sprawling campus with many exhibits and memorials that are interactive as one walks down the streets into catacomb like exhibits. The main museum is quite different from the USHMM in Washington.The architecture is magnificent and well thought out to create an interactive experience for the visitors.
We has several lectures today. First was Shumamit Imber, Director is Intl studies. I was suppose to hear her at Metro West a while back but she was unable to attend, making this lecture more valuable. A dynamic educator she gave us a real sense of how to teach the Holocaust in an appropriate and meaningful way to our students.
Our second speaker was a professor: Guy Meron who spoke about Jews and Non Jews in Europe in the 19=20 Century.
Our final speaker of the day was Prof Yehuda Bauer who spoke about the "Unpreceedentendness' of the Holocaust. A wonderful speaker that conveyed the importance of the concept that this being unprecedented as opposed to "unique"
Personally I was awed by the railway car exhibit which is exhibited on rail tracks high above the museum. Outside the museum the poem by Dan Pagis is engraved " Written in Pencil in a Sealed Railway Car." I have used this poem in class and it has remained one of the most poignant poems That I have ever read.
Our evening concluded with a sumptuous dinner and a visit by 2 Israeli High School teachers who shared their methods of teaching the Holocaust to their students. Frankly, I never gave much thought to the fact that teens today in Israel must also be taught about the Holocaust. Regardless of the fact many of their relatives may have a direct connection, they still may not have the information and tools to understand.
The evening concluded with a visit to Ben Yehuda street to sample the Gelati, and to purchase some gifts. I purchased a skirt to use tomorrow at the Kotel ( Western Wall).
Today was a long day but one that truly gave me a sense of why I am here, why I want to be here, and why I want to teach.