Reconnecting Ties

Facing History and Ourselves Educators’ Visit

June 2013

In June 2013, in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, one of the most important U.S. educational organizations, Forum for Dialogue organized a study tour of modern Poland for a  delegation of American Jewish educators . The visit’s highlight was a meeting between the program participants and School of Dialogue students from  Pińczów.

During a walking tour of Pinczów prepared as part of the School of Dialogue program, the students shared with the visitors their knowledge of the local Jewish history, which they gained through independent research as a result of Forum workshops. The route included stops at the site of the Jewish cemetery, and the renovated Pińczów synagogue surrounded by a wall made of fragments of recovered matzevot. The students also shared their personal stories regarding preservation and commemoration of Jewish life in Pińczów.

Visiting Pińczów and witnessing the dedication and knowledge exhibited by local teenagers had a huge impact on the study visit participants. They were particularly moved by the choice of words: the students used words such as “neighbor” when talking about the Jewish population, and referred to  “our history” when talking about Jewish history of Pinczów.. In their comments after the meeting, the study visit participants emphasized how much this visit changed their perception of Polish/Jewish relations and past. As one of the participants, Jack Lipinsky, wrote: “I will carry the conversations and what I’ve learned from this trip forward with me into my classroom in the fall, and for years to come. I will tell my students of the stories I heard, and the sights I saw, and my feelings.”