20 April 2007

Spain before Poland as youth destination?

A Ha'aretz writer questions the value of Israeli youth trips to Poland's concentration camps, and believes learning history from the beginning is more important, and says the story of Jewish Europe is both Ashkenazi and Sephardi.

At "Granada of the Jews" they will visit Alhambra and hear about Shmuel Hanagid. In Cordoba they will visit the Great Mosque, the beautiful synagogue and see the statue of Maimonides. In Toledo they will get to know the Jewish Museum of Spain and read a text of Yehudah Halevy, engraved, for a change, on stone. One may even dare to sneak a poem of Lorca's into the program.

Israeli pupils, both Jewish and Arab, would take this trip together. Only those who studied and prepared for it seriously and with interest would be chosen to go. Their parents will pay only a symbolic fee, a sign of commitment to the values it represents. All the rest would be financed by the Education Ministry, the Spanish government - some of whose officials have displayed considerable interest in this idea - and independent foundations.

Read about a small paper mill in Andalusia, operated by Jewish and Moslem partners whose clients were Christians. The author says students should walk through Venice, Krakow and Thessalonike and trace signs of life, not only death.

Read the complete article here

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