Echoes and Reflections Workshop to Aid Teachers in Holocaust Education

News Story: November 5, 2009
Program offered in Collaboration with the Connecticut Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federation Association of CT (JFACT)

On the eve of the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the November 9, 1938 night when the Nazi’s discriminatory policy towards Jews changed to wholesale violence as they carried out the largest pogrom in the history of the world, Sacred Heart University will aid Connecticut teachers in Holocaust education. The Echoes and Reflections workshop will welcome 30 graduate and pre-service teachers of the University’s Isabelle Farrington School of Education. Echoes and Reflections is an innovative Holocaust education curriculum developed by the Anti-Defamation League in conjunction with the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation and Israel’s Yad Vashem. Participants currently teach or plan to teach in a range of subject areas (Language Arts, History, and Religion) at the middle and upper school levels in both public and private school settings.
The program is sponsored by Sacred Heart’s Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding (CCJU) and the Isabelle Farrington School of Education in collaboration with the Connecticut ADL and the Jewish Federation of CT. Dr. Ann Heekin, who will lead the program on behalf of the CCJU, described the workshop as an important dimension of Sacred Heart’s commitment to Christian-Jewish understanding. “The CCJU is a world leader in Christian-Jewish dialogue and education is core to that mission. In addition to long-standing programs educating Christian and Jewish seminarians and newly ordained clergy for better understanding of the other, school teachers are yet another core constituency for the work of the Center,” said Heekin. “The Second Vatican Council document, Nostra Aetate, set the Roman Catholic Church on a new path towards reconciliation with the Jewish people including the rejection of anti-Semitism and all forms of prejudice. Education in the schools is a critical part of how this teaching gets implemented at the local level,” she said.
“For too long,” says Marji Lipshez-Shapiro, Director of Education of the CT ADL, “when the Holocaust was taught in the schools it was up to each teacher to develop their own curriculum. With Echoes and Reflections we provide teacher instruction in a multi-disciplinary and age-appropriate resource that includes ten multi-part lessons with DVD visual history testimonies from Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. Teachers can select as little or as much material as they can cover and still teach the subject effectively.”
Teacher instruction in using the Echoes and Reflections curriculum will be led by Ms. Lipshez-Shapiro and Sacred Heart University Professor, Lauren Kempton. Dr. Kempton is a leader in teacher education in the Holocaust in Connecticut and also directs the Holocaust Education and Prejudice Reduction Program of Greater New Haven. The program is offered free of charge and participants will receive a complimentary copy of the Echoes and Reflections curriculum guide.
“The program scheduled for the eve of Kristallnacht has more than symbolic value, it testifies to the ongoing need to help young people to think critically about Holocaust, its causes and its implications for ongoing genocides in our world,” said Heekin. “We are nearing the end of a period when living survivors can teach this story and education is important to passing on its lessons and the idea that our young people are the agents of a different kind of future for Jews and all oppressed groups in our world.”