Participants tour the Yad Vashem Campus
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05 July 2015
"If until now, we knew we were a holy mission, now I feel it more strongly."
This response was one of many received by Yad Vashem following the conferences held for Ultra-orthodox educators during the Three Weeks, the traditional period of mourning over the destroyed Temples in Jerusalem. In total, some 1150 educators participated in the three conferences - for female teachers, male educators and seminary students - all of which centered on the theme of the return to Jewish life after the end of WWII.
Participants heard a range of lectures about liberation and the DP camps, including the revival of Jewish life, halachic issues such as weddings and agunot (married women whose husbands' fates remained unknown), returning hidden children to Jewish homes and rabbis serving in the liberating forces. They also participated in a number of workshops designed to enrich their understanding of the events and their teaching skills. toured the Yad Vashem campus, and heard testimonies from Holocaust survivors. The seminary students participated in a special program in the Valley of the Communities, which included musical interludes played by their fellow teachers-in-training, reflecting the music of the region and era. "The conference gave us more background, knowledge and tools to pass on to our students," wrote one participant at the end of the conference. "This was an important event and your work is admirable," wrote another. "We must continue to nourish the commandment 'zechor yemot olam (remember the times gone by).' Thank you for all your efforts towards this vital goal."
For more about the "Three Weeks" conferences, see the upcoming edition of Yad Vashem Jerusalem Magazine, which will be available here in October 2015.