For the first time, Argentina’s minister of education will play a key role in commemorating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
Cabinet member Alberto Sileoni will personally teach an “open class” Thursday designed for students of different religions, as part of a ceremony organized by Argentina’s Central Council of Jewish Education. The session, attended in past years by the minister, has become an annual element of the memorial, but will be distinguished this year by Sileoni’s active role.
“The minister of education was invited as in all years, but this time he’s going to teach the class,” the council’s director, Batia Nemirovsky, told the Iton Gadol website (Spanish).
The special class, aimed at high school students, will be held at the Israelite Mutual Association of Argentina, the site of the 1994 bombing that killed 87 people and injured more than 100. Organizers moved the lesson from July 18, the anniversary of the attack, to Thursday, in order to accommodate students about to begin Argentina’s winter vacation. They note that Sileoni’s lesson will be attended largely by pupils born after the bombing, saying their participation marks a new stage in preserving public memory of the atrocity.
A lawyer and historian, Sileoni is a member of President Cristina Kirchner’s Front for Victory party. His biography on the education ministry website (Spanish) lists the Holocaust as a topic to which he’s given special attention during his years in government.