The Brisbane Catholic Education web site provides a clear rationale for the study of Judaism in Catholic schools.
Why teach Judaism in a Catholic school?
Students in Catholic schools are challenged by the increasing globalisation of today’s world. Through a study of the major world religions, students are given the opportunity to explore the interrelationships between religion and society, and deepen their understanding of the home tradition. The study of Judaism in particular introduces students to the connections between the monotheistic religions and encourages dialogue that can lead to tolerance and understanding.
Since Vatican II the Catholic Church has sought to both acknowledge and deepen the relationship between Christianity and Judaism, in the shadow of the Shoah. Encyclicals such as “Nostra Aetate” began the movement toward inter-faith dialogue in the Catholic Church following Vatican II and highlighted the need for Catholics to understand and respect the religious tradition that was an integral part of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The documents and encyclicals challenge teachers in Catholic schools to begin to understand the traditions and faith life of the Jewish people:
(click on the links below to download and view segments of the encyclical and documents)
Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate, no.4
Notes on the Correct Way to Present the Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church
Dr Peta Goldburg in the article Religious Educators leading understanding in a multi-faith Australia challenges teachers in Catholic schools to engage in dialogue and education that reflects the Church’s teaching but also acknowledges Judaism as a vibrant and dynamic religous tradition:
“Today we need to teach about Judaism in a way that acknowledges God’s continuing and lasting Covenant with the Jews. Christians need to understand Judaism since Christian origins are inextricably bound up in Judaism. But we have to move
beyond teaching about Jews as “Hebrews of old” (Boys, 2006, p. 10) and begin to teach about Judaism as a living religion and to teach about Jews as they define themselves not as we define them.”
The Yad Vashem provide very good teaching resources which can be found by clicking on the following link http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/education/video/index.asp
Further information can be found on the Courage to Care web site accessed through the hyperlink below.
Understanding Judaism, crafted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies provides information about the faith tradition within an Australian context and was created to promote community harmony. It is a wonderful source of easily accessible material for students. Click to open, understanding judiasm 2008.