The Jossi Berger Holocaust Study Center

An important emphasis in the College curriculum has always been Holocaust Studies. The very fact that the College houses the Jossi Berger Holocaust Study Center is an indication that the subject was literally "built" into the very foundation of the school. Every student at the EMUNAH College in Jerusalem participates in a unique learning experience at the Jossi Berger Holocaust Study Center. This is particularly meaningful because of the students’ diverse backgrounds, especially those from “edot hamizrach.”

Every freshman studying at the College participates in a unique learning experience at the Jossi Berger Holocaust Center. Classroom lectures and reading material outline the historical framework of the Holocaust while the interdisciplinary project allows creativity to merge with historical study.

The in-depth curriculum includes: The Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism and Nazism, German Jewry during the 1930's and 1940's, Jewish Communities under Nazi Rule, The Final Solution, The Jewish Yishuv in Palestine during the Holocaust, Jewish Leadership during the Holocaust, The Day to Day Stand of Jews during the Holocaust, The Free World and Religious Life and Faith during and after the Holocaust.

The second aspect of the learning experience involves a study project. Until the 1996/97 academic year, the entire class would interview Holocaust survivors who shared a common background. One year, the interviewees were all survivors of the "Kastner Train," the train of Hungarian Jews saved during 1944 by Israel Reszo Kastner in his negotiations with Eichmann over "trucks for blood." In 1992-93 the interviewees were all survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto and the following year the interviewees were all survivors of the Lodz ghetto.

Recently, this portion of the program has been expanded, allowing the students to create a project in their chosen field of study. There are six options: interviewing a survivor, including videotaping; analyzing an existing Holocaust monument; creating a Holocaust monument; presenting a survivor’s story in graphic form; telling the story of a town through a Yizkor book; and turning a survivor’s story into a play.

In addition to this one-year program, all students at the EMUNAH College attend and participate in special programs and symposia on the Holocaust throughout the year.

The Jossi Berger Holocaust Study Center not only serves as the focus for Holocaust studies for the college students, but it has also become the central address for English language Holocaust programming for the large “anglo” community living in Jerusalem. Since Yad Vashem programs are mostly in Hebrew, the Jossi Berger Center fills an important community need.

EMUNAH established The Holocaust Library and Resource Center as part of the Jossi Berger Holocaust Study Center at EMUNAH College. The Library is available not only to students, but to the general community as well.

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