New York, NY, July 2, 2015 … Catholic school educators from across the U.S. will come together to embark on an educational expedition to Israel. Middle and high school educators from 10 states will be participating in the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) nationally acclaimed Bearing Witness Advanced program, which aims to provide an advance course of study on anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and Catholic-Jewish relations.
From June 30 to July 9, the participants will have the opportunity to experience Israel from the modern, high-tech city of Tel Aviv to the bustling seaport of Haifa to the Old City of Jerusalem to the biblical town of Nazareth and the Golan Heights. On their way, they will visit Christian and Jewish holy sites including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of the Annunciation, St. Peter’s Church and Mount of Beatitudes. The group will also visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust.
Along the way, the participants will have the chance to hear firsthand accounts and information from Arab-Israelis, Israeli journalists, Catholic dignitaries, Jewish community leaders, interfaith experts and scholars including representatives of the Israeli government, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, the Aramaic Christian Association, and the Interfaith Association.
“This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience for Catholic educators to directly experience the breadth and diversity of today’s Israel,” said David S. Waren, ADL Director of Education. “Our goal is that these remarkable Catholic teachers will take their memorable experiences on the ground in Israel back into their classrooms, ultimately having a positive impact on their students. The Catholic and Jewish communities have reached an important crossroad, with Pope Francis elevating and placing a significant emphasis on relations between our two communities. Such a mission is extremely timely.”
Since its inception in 1996, ADL Bearing Witness: Anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and Contemporary Issues has trained more than 1,900 Catholic school educators across the U.S. about the historical relationship between the Jewish and Catholic communities and the impact of that relationship on Catholic teaching, catechesis and liturgy.
In 2005, the ADL initiated Bearing Witness Advanced - endorsed by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops - to allow Bearing Witness graduates to extend their learning and travel to Israel.