Conference offers teaching tools on Judaism, Israel

Community relations professionals and lay leaders representing 16 states are convening Sunday, Aug. 7 in Walnut Creek to learn how to teach public school teachers about Jews and Israel.   

The two-day conference is sponsored by the S.F.-based Institute for Curriculum Services, a national, independently funded project of the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. ICS is dedicated to promoting accurate instructional materials about Jews, Judaism, and Israel for kindergarden through 12th-grade students.

This first-ever training conference launches ICS’ National Teacher Training Initiative, which seeks to promote more accurate teaching about Jewish topics. Since its founding in 2005, ICS has reviewed more than 1,000 textbooks, leading to more than 5,000 corrections and changes to more accurately reflect Jewish life and history.

Many of the distortions appear in social studies curricula, according to Aliza Craimer Elias of ICS. “Through interactive, hands-on skill-building sessions, participants will learn how to apply to, present at and host a booth at the annual social studies teacher conferences that take place in their states,” she said.

“By participating in these conferences and distributing ICS curricular materials, local Jewish communities will ultimately help ICS broaden its reach to educators, thereby promoting more accurate instruction on Jews, Judaism and Israel nationwide.”

In addition, ICS has created teachers’ guides, lesson plans, fact sheets and student handouts for use in the schools, all of which are available on the ICS website,