New York, NY, July 6, 2012 … A group of Catholic school educators from 10 states across the country traveled to the Holy Land on an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) mission that aims to provide an advance course of study on anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and Catholic-Jewish relations.
The 19 participants in the nationally acclaimed ADL Bearing Witness Advanced™ program traveled to Israel July 11-18, where they visited Christian and Jewish holy sites and met with Holocaust survivors, members of the Israeli government, Arab Israelis, Israeli journalists, Catholic dignitaries, Jewish community leaders, interfaith experts and scholars.
The educators represented middle and high schools in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Illinois and California.
"This mission is essential to helping Catholic educators gain a deeper understanding of the historic relationship between the Catholic and Jewish communities and develop the tools needed to teach about the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and modern-day Israel," said David Waren, ADL Director of Education. "Now in its 8th year, the ADL Bearing Witness Advanced program continues to give Catholic educators the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the Jewish state and enhance their appreciation of the country and its history. The educators are then able to bring these experiences and lessons home to their students, fellow educators and communities."
The group traveled across Israel, with stops in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Nazareth, the Golan Heights and Haifa. They toured the old city of Jerusalem, and numerous Christian churches and holy sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of the Annunciation, St. Joseph's Church and Mount of Beatitudes.
At Yad Vashem, the educators visited the Children's Museum, Monuments and Hall of Remembrance and heard from Holocaust survivors. The group also met with representatives of the Israeli government, Israeli Defense Forces, the Arab-Jewish Community Center, The Jerusalem Post, the Apostolic Delegation, the JOINT Distribution Fund, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Shalom Hartman Institute, the Interfaith Encounter Association and Bar Ilan University.
Since its inception in 1996, ADL Bearing Witness: Anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and Contemporary Issues has trained more than 1,500 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. Bearing Witness Advanced was initiated in 2005 to allow Bearing Witness graduates to extend their learning and travel to Israel. The program is endorsed by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.