Aussie teachers go to school in Israel

December 22, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Early next month, 25 Australian educators will start a year-long program on Holocaust studies, starting with a 10-day course at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The teachers are the successful applicants who will participate in inaugural Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian educators.

Damien Badior

J-Wire spoke to one of the contingent…history teacher Damien Badior from the NSW Central Coast. Badior teaches at the Henry Kendall High School in Gosford, currently the sixth largest high school in the State with over 1350 pupils.

He said: “I am thrilled at being chosen to participate in this program. I have been interested in German history for years and specialise in the period between 1871 and 1945. I applied online to take part and was interviewed in Sydney. My pupils are very excited about my forthcoming experience.”

Yad Vashem

He told J-Wire that the school regularly takes pupils on trips to Sydney to visit the Jewish Museum which houses an impressive Holocaust section. Badior added: “Every comment I have heard about the visit to Yad Vashem has been positive. No-one at the school or their parents or anyone I know for that matter has had one negative word to say about the course.”

On their return from Israel, the 25 teachers will continue their Holocaust studies with the long-term aim as having a group of expert teachers on the subject based in major centres around Australia.

Medior said: “I am really interested to learn what made these people to those unbelievably horrible things to their fellow human beings.”

A spokesman for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry told J-Wire: “This is not the first time educators have participated in courses at Yad Vashem…but this is bigger and more ambitious than ever before and is to be welcomed.”

John Gandel, the chairperson of the Gandel Charitable Trust told media that “participants will come home to actively involve Holocaust studies in their work and raise awareness of the Holocaust within their communities”.

The teachers leave for Israel on January 10.

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