NEW YORK (Aug. 30)
A nationwide group concerned with Jewish education has reiterated the importance of transmitting greater understanding and love for Israel to Jewish youngsters in the United States. The Notional Commission on the Teaching of Zionism and Israel last week adopted a Declaration of Principles and Objectives which will form the basis of curriculum development and teacher training programs in selected Jewish schools and communities across the country.
The Commission, sponsored by the American Association for Jewish Education and the World Zionist Organization-American Section Departments of Education and Culture and Torah Education, has already helped to develop curricula in Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform schools for students at the elementary and high school levels.
The Declaration, stressing that the Zionist program was founded upon a belief in the unity of the Jewish people, focuses upon “the centrality of Israel in Jewish national life; the ingathering of the Jewish people in its historic homeland; the realization in the State of Israel of the prophetic vision of social justice and peace; the preservation of the Jewish people through the fostering of Jewish education; and the protection of Jewish rights everywhere.”
Referring to the affirmation by the 1975 Jerusalem Conference of Jewish Solidarity, that “the Jewish education of our young people is the guaranteed basis of Jewish creative continuity,” the Declaration concludes, “By enhancing the place of Zionism and Israel in its curriculum, the Jewish School becomes a truly vital institution in America, nurturing the growth of personal authenticity in its students, while insuring the continuity of the Jewish people and its inspiring heritage.” In order to provide students with vital information concerning Israel and Zionism, the Commission is utilizing a variety of materials, including work books, audio visual aids, topes, cassettes and records.
A MATTER OF HIGH PRIORITY
The Declaration also notes that “It is a matter of the highest priority for the American Jewish community to extend to the teacher in the Jewish school the training opportunity and the status worthy” of his or her central role in “helping to shape the Jewish future.” In keeping with this objective, the Commission will, during the coming year, sponsor a number of teaching training institutes and denominational conferences as well as a national colloquium on the meaning of Zionism and the most effective methods of teaching it.
Rabbi Israel Miller, president of the American Zionist Federation, is chairman of the Commission. The WZO-American Section is represented by Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of its Executive, Isadore Hamlin, executive vice chairman, and Herman L. Sainer, staff consultant.