The Bearing Witness™ Program is a unique professional development opportunity for Catholic school educators. In 1996, the ADL's Washington, D.C. Regional Office created Bearing Witness to provide Catholic school educators with the training and resources necessary to teach their students about the historical relationship between Jewish and Catholic communities and the impact of that relationship on Catholic teaching, catechesis and liturgy. Through Bearing Witness, participants explore the history of anti-Semitism, from biblical times to modern day. Themes include the role of the Church during the Holocaust, recent changes in Catholic teachings on Jews and Judaism, issues of prejudice in contemporary society and practical strategies for teaching students about the Holocaust and anti- Semitism. Bearing Witness is endorsed by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In 2000, Bearing Witness was one of 15 programs across the country to receive recognition by the NCEA as a SPICE program (Selected Programs for Improving Catholic Education). SPICE is a process that identifies, validates, and systematically disseminates elementary and secondary school programs so that teachers and administrators in other schools can adopt them.
Since its inception, Bearing Witness has trained over 1600 Catholic school educators across the country. In 1998 it became an ADL nationally sponsored program and ADL regional offices began replicating the program in 2002. As feature stories on National Public Radio and The Washington Post have demonstrated, Bearing Witness is a highly visible program, as well as one of lasting importance. In 2005, a new and exciting extension, Bearing Witness Advanced, was initiated.
Bearing Witness™ Advanced is a unique professional development opportunity for Catholic school educators from across the United States. Due to the overwhelming success of the original Bearing Witness Program, a result of the joint partnership between the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Archdiocese of Washington, an advanced course of study was instituted in 2005. This extension of Bearing Witness, which allows educators the opportunity to extend their learning, includes a trip to Israel where participants hear from resident scholars and are afforded the chance to visit sites sacred to Jews and Christians. Participants are graduates of regional Bearing Witness Programs held across the nation.
May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation
Bearing Witness™ Advanced Program
Typically while in Israel, educators visit Yad Vashem (Israel's official memorial to the Holocaust) and hear from religious and government leaders including the Papal Nuncio, the head of the Catholic community in Israel, kibbutz members, an Arab Affairs Correspondent from the Jerusalem Post and the Director of the Interfaith Encounter Association. The realities of daily life are brought home with visits to the security fence and the Golan Heights.
In addition, participants are afforded the opportunity to attend Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Mount of the Beatitudes. They visit holy sites in The Galilee and throughout the Old City of Jerusalem, where they experience a tour of the Western Wall Tunnel and hear from the head archeologist of the Israel Antiquity Authority. Always a highlight is celebrating Shabbat with an Israeli family in the holy city of Safed.
For more information please contact David Waren, Director Education Division