Members of the Gur hasidic sect have joined Zionist youth organizations for the
2013 Youth Movement Congress at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial on
This year’s event, organized by the Education Ministry and Yad
Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies, marks the first time that
the hasidic movement, one of the largest in Israel, sent representatives to the
Thursday’s congress was the eighth such event held
by Yad Vashem and was dedicated to the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of
the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
All told, four hundred young people,
representing thirteen movements from the left-wing Hashomer Hatza’ir to the
Revisionist Betar, were in attendance.
Hasidic Jews do not generally
engage publicly in public coeducational activities with Zionist
However, Dorit Novak, the director of the International
School, says that activities dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the
Holocaust are different and can serve as a valuable bridge between the various
sectors of society.
Despite radically different religious and political
orientations, she said, the different groups in attendance gathered together to
discuss ways and means of promoting Holocaust education in their
Youth leaders, she said, must become educators in their own
right before they can become leaders. She also noted that the leaders of the
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising belonged to some of the Zionist movements represented at
Anyone who seeks to improve their community in Israel is a
Zionist in “my eyes,” she told The Jerusalem Post, referring to the ultra-
While Thursday was the first time that the Gerrer
Hechaelei Oneg organization took part, she noted, the Banot Batya movement,
associated with the ultra- Orthodox Beis Yaakov school girls network, has been
participating for several years.
While participating in the event,
representatives of Gur declined to be interviewed.
Banot Batya represents
several streams of ultra-Orthodoxy, including hasidic groups, non-hasidic
“Lithuanians” and Sephardic Jews and is the fourth-largest such haredi
organization, according to organization representative Yehudit
Despite tensions over issues of religion and state in Israel
having taken center stage politically in recent years, Loberbaum said that she
felt no hostility on the part of national-religious and secular
It is important for the haredi world to take part in events
such as this, she said.
“It is important for us to be a part.”