The Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) will reach its widest audience yet when it launches its new course, “Beyond Never Again: How the Holocaust Speaks to Us Today,” this spring. Program coordinators anticipate that some 10,000 students will take the six-lesson course in their 200 affiliate sites around the world, including the Chabad Aleph Center, 718 Lynn St., Herndon.
Though the course is timed to coincide with Yom Hashoah-Holocaust Remembrance Day, it does not focus on the history of the Holocaust but rather its other aspects, so that there’s little overlap with Holocaust courses traditionally offered at universities and Jewish community centers. “Beyond Never Again” addresses how the Holocaust matters to Jewish people personally, theologically, psychologically, and how it challenges today’s generation to rethink its ethical values.
Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum, and other prominent Holocaust memorial organizations have endorsed the Jewish Learning Institute’s new course.
The JLI course will tackle big questions like why evil people prosper, and why good people suffer. Rabbi Fajnland, instructor for the course here in Reston-Herndon, called this paradox the “energizing Jewish question” that is a central thread through Jewish history from the patriarch Abraham and on. Later sessions include the Jewish approach to martyrdom, faith after tragedy, and preventing further suffering.
To honor the multiplicity of perspectives, the course has been constructed as a facilitated dialogue. Like all JLI courses, “Beyond Never Again” is source based.
Because the courses are offered in lockstep pace at all JLI affiliate sites, student can move from one of the Institute’s 200 sites to another, without missing a beat. Every student that signs up for the course is also given access to a special JLI Web site where the discussions continue on a broader platform.
According to Prof. Dan Michman, chief historian at Yad Vashem, "The planned JLI course, 'Beyond Never Again: How the Holocaust Speaks to Us Today,' is a most valuable contribution to the effort to have the knowledge about and the implications of this enormous event made accessible to those two or three generations removed from the Holocaust, and lead them to positive Jewish awareness.”