2010 Echoes and Reflections Professors’ Study Tour
“Echoes and Reflections has designed a moveable feast for university faculty to study the historical, cultural, philosophical, ethical, and religious dimensions of the Holocaust. What a remarkable privilege it was to engage in dialogue with world-class historians, literary scholars, and journalists, to feel the stone and soil of Israel beneath my feet, and to become networked with an impressive group of colleagues and friends committed to a more socially just world.”
—Kevin Leander, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University
Nineteen professors from eighteen colleges and universities representing ten states participated in the 2010 Echoes and Reflections Professors’ Study Tour to Israel. Participants represented University of South Florida, Glendale Community College (AZ), University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Florida, Mount St. Mary’s College (CA), Sacred Heart University (CT), University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University, California State University-East Bay, Syracuse University, University of Miami (FL), Kean University (NJ), The University of Texas at Austin, College of St. Elizabeth (NJ), St. Edward’s University (TX), The University of Texas at Tyler, La Salle University (PA), and University of California-Santa Barbara. The group, accompanied by staff from ADL and the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, participated in a nine-day program of study at Yad Vashem learning about the Holocaust and identifying meaningful ways to bring Echoes and Reflections to college students.
Participants met with world-renowned historians and pedagogical experts from Yad Vashem, studying pre-war Europe and the Jews of Poland, Jewish leadership during the Holocaust, the “Final Solution”, literature and art of the Holocaust, and the complexity and responsibility of teaching the Holocaust to today’s students.
Guest lecturers included: Professor Rafi Vago, Tel Aviv University, who spoke about the rise of antisemitism in Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and antisemitism in the modern world; Simcha Stein, Ghetto Fighters’ House, who discussed Jewish resistance during the Holocaust; David Horowitz, Editor-in-Chief, Jerusalem Post, who provided an overview of the problems facing Israel today; Yehuda Bauer, who spoke about the unprecedentedness of the Holocaust in an age of genocide; and Dr. Alan Rosen, who presented literary approaches to studying the Holocaust. Holocaust survivor Ruth Brand shared her story of life before the Holocaust and explained to the group how the rise of antisemitism changed life for Jews in her small Romanian community. In addition, the group met with Hanna Pick, childhood friend of Anne Frank. Ms. Pick provided insight into both Anne and Miep Gies, one of the individuals responsible for helping Anne and her family while they were in hiding. Ironically, this presentation was given on the day that Miep Gies passed away in Holland at the age of 100.
Participants also had an opportunity to participate in hands-on lessons from Echoes and Reflections and learn more about using visual history testimony in the classroom from ADL and USC Shoah Foundation Institute staff. In addition, the group toured the Holocaust History Museum, the Visual Center, and the Learning Center at Yad Vashem. The program was rounded out with excursions to the Western Wall Tunnels, the city of Jerusalem, the Great Synagogue, Massada, and the Dead Sea. The prestigious group of professors who participated in the program will now work with Echoes and Reflections staff to bring the multimedia curriculum to their campuses, with a special focus on preparing preservice educators to teach the Holocaust once they enter the classroom.
The 2010 Echoes and Reflections Professors’ Study Tour was funded by Dana and Yossie Hollander.