In the framework of the pilot project Mapping the Jewish Cemeteries of Europe, co-funded by the European Commission, we already held teacher training seminars in Greece and Slovakia in 2019. These seminars help us to bring Jewish heritage to classrooms beyond the framework of the project itself, enhancing educators’ practices, and providing a platform for them to exchange their experiences and develop a professional network.
We are happy to report that a teacher training event was conducted in Ukraine this week. On February 13 experienced educators from across Ukraine gathered in Mykolayiv for a seminar on the “Jewish Cemetery as a Historical Source”, held on the campus of Mykolayiv Boarding School no.3. The event was organized by the ESJF with the support of the Mykolayiv Department of Education and Science and Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education.
Participants shared their own experiences introducing materials on Jewish heritage into the classroom. Presenting were Dr. Irina Selivanova-Zerkal, and curriculum development specialists Anna Sizova (Pervomaisk, Mykolaiv Oblast) and Nadiya Kolpachenko (Oleshki, Kherson Oblast), all of whom have made major contributions to the preservation of Jewish heritage in Ukraine.
Also in attendance was Associate Professor Volodymyr Shchukin, who spoke about working with the archives and presented to the audience several of his own works on the history of Ukrainian-Jewish relations in Mykolayiv region, and on the contribution of the Jewish community to the development of Mykolayiv city itself.
ESJF representatives lecturer Aleksandra Fishel, and chief historian Dr. Kateryna Malakhova (a lecturer at Kyiv Mohyla Academy) put on a series of lectures and workshops for the seminar participants. Attendees learned how to read dates on Jewish tombstones, how to work with old maps, and learned about the main objectives and challenges of cemetery preservation. They are not only a valuable historical resource, but also an integral element of Ukraine’s cultural and historical heritage. The presentations also highlighted the results of ESJF’s work in the region: 23 of the 31 cemeteries located were surveyed and documented for the first time.
For the creatively inclined, a master class on traditional Jewish art, conducted by artist Pavlo Fishel, explored the meaning of traditional images, and provided examples of their use in various household items.
The event finished with a roundtable discussion and dinner prepared by the Or Menachem Mykolayiv Jewish School. Before departing, all participants received certificates and a copy of “Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-Existence” provided by the nonprofit Ukrainian Jewish Encounter.
The ESJF is grateful to everyone who made the event possible, especially:
Everyone at Mykolayiv Boarding School no.3 and especially its director Dr. Irina Selivanova-Zerkal, Tetiana Demidenko of the Mykolayiv Regional State Administration Department of Education and Science, Olga Zakhar of the Mykolayiv Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education.