06 March 2023
Raising to the great need for Holocaust awareness while countering the alarming increase in antisemitism and Holocaust denial in the U.S., a powerful alliance between two historic institutions—Yeshiva University's (YU) Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center —promises to build innovative educational programs and initiatives on Holocaust studies.
The strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)—signed by Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University and Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan—creates a framework for joint partnerships in curriculum building, resource sharing, educator training and event design. The agreement pledges that the two organizations will work collaboratively toward a shared goal of strengthening efforts to promote education and remembrance of the Holocaust and encourage the study of the Holocaust in schools, universities, communities and other institutions.
“Both Yeshiva University and Yad Vashem are global leaders in the field of Holocaust education, and the intention of this partnership is to amplify the impact of institutional resources during an unprecedented rise in antisemitism and decline in Holocaust literacy. We are excited to partner Yeshiva University’s world-class educators with Yad Vashem to help advance the mutual goal of increasing Holocaust awareness in America’s classrooms,” said Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University.
The signing of the MoU comes on the heels of The Fish Center’s development of an advanced certificate program designed to train middle and high school teachers to become skilled educators about the Holocaust. Recently approved by New York State, YU’s certificate program was developed to bridge the knowledge gap for the growing number of states who require some form of Holocaust and genocide studies programs in their middle and high school classrooms.
YU will bring rigorous education to these teachers, helping them spread awareness and foster understanding about the Holocaust where’s its needed most, with America’s students. According to a 2020 study by the Claims Conference, and in which Yad Vashem experts were included on the Steering Committee, that covered the 50 states, New York is among those with the lowest Holocaust knowledge scores, with 58% of Millennials and Gen Z being unable to name a single concentration camp. The study also found that 60% of young people did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.
"Yad Vashem is committed to ensuring that the history of the Holocaust continues to be relevant today and for future generations and is not relegated to yet another chapter in human history," said Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan. "This agreement with Yeshiva University provides the next generation of educators with the necessary tools and materials to address the topic of the Holocaust and engage young scholars in the need for further research into its multifaceted nature and relevance today. Yad Vashem hopes that this agreement with YU will continue to open opportunities in higher education in the United States and all over the world. It's about reaching out to audiences around the world to ensure that the chronicles of this singular Jewish and human event reach every significant and relevant audience worldwide."
Emil Fish, Holocaust survivor and founder of the Fish Center, reflected:
“Since I came out of Bergen Belsen, the infamous Nazi concentration camp, in the summer of 1945, I promised myself that what my people, my family, and I had experienced must never happen again. And it never will, I do believe so, but only if we do all that is in our power to learn the lessons of history and educate the next generations. The partnership with a world-class international organization like Yad Vashem is exactly the kind of relationship that the Fish Center needs to form, and I am so proud of this achievement.”