Some 1,500 teachers from Jewish schools across Latin America attended the largest Jewish educational conference ever held in Latin America, at the Martin Buber School in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The conference was led by the Local Jewish Community Committee in Argentina-AMIA; the departments of Zionist Enterprises, Education and Hebrew of the World Zionist Organization (WZO); in collaboration with UnitED, a subsidiary of Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry and Herzog College.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first time the conference had been held since 2019, although it had been held annually for three years prior.
The annual conference, aimed at teaching the Hebrew language and Jewish identity, will be recognized as an accredited program for the continuing education of all Argentinian teachers, Argentina’s education minister announced while in attendance.
"Educators of Jewish schools in Argentina and throughout Latin America, who teach about Jewish identity, Hebrew language and Israeli culture in schools, are the backbone of the connection between the State of Israel and the younger generation in their communities."Diaspora Affairs Minister Dr. Nachman Shai
Dealing with Jewish education
The two-day event dealt with many issues related to education in general and Jewish education in particular. The wide range of topics discussed at the conference included: ways to teach the Hebrew language, the Israeli educational system, emotional education, art and bullying in the educational system.
The conference featured educators and representatives from schools across Latin America, local speakers, school principals and teachers from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Brazil. Many of the topics raised dealt with the reality of life alongside COVID-19 and the return to routine in the educational sphere.
Among the participants were former education minister Rabbi Shai Piron, Chairwoman of the Pedagogical Secretariat of the Education Ministry Dr. Miri Schlissel, VP of Education at Jewish Interactive Dr. Anat Goodman, Herzog College Rector Prof. Yehuda Brandes and other renowned experts in teaching Hebrew as a second language. In addition, many of the speakers were recognized experts in the field of education in Latin America.
“A day after marking 27 years since the horrific attack on the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, more than 1,500 Jewish educators met in order to strengthen the Jewish identity and connection to Israel of their students,” Argentinian native and Zionist Enterprises Department head Silvio Joskowicz said at the conference. “The participation, learning and membership in this conference should be a symbol of the entire Jewish people. Our power lies in our unity.”
Diaspora Affairs Minister Dr. Nachman Shai said, “Educators of Jewish schools in Argentina and throughout Latin America, who teach about Jewish identity, Hebrew language and Israeli culture in schools, are the backbone of the connection between the State of Israel and the younger generation in their communities. I am proud of the collaboration that has been created between the Diaspora Affairs Ministry and AMIA together with the other partners, in order to produce a unique and first-of-its-kind conference for the benefit of the professional advancement of the teachers.”