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— Guide developed for NYC educators to focus on building understanding about antisemitism after a rise in hate following October 7th —

New York, N.Y.—The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust has released its Antisemitism FAQ Educator Resource. Following the October 7th massacre in Israel, and the subsequent accelerated rise in antisemitism, the Museum received numerous questions from students and teachers—and requests for support—to help them understand historical and contemporary antisemitism. This Resource is designed to guide educators throughout New York City in building an understanding of antisemitism: how it has played out in the past and what it looks like today.

The Antisemitism FAQ Educator Resource features a series of questions commonly asked about antisemitism, accompanied by helpful answers and background information for educators to use to ensure an accurate and tolerant approach to the subject. Answers address topics, including the roots of antisemitism, why Jews were targeted during the Holocaust, how the Holocaust ties into current events, and how to identify antisemitic tropes.

You can access the Resource at https://education.mjhnyc.org/antisemitism. Feedback on this document is welcome and can be submitted to education@mjhnyc.org.

Resources such as this are critical during a time when 78 percent of American Jews say the attacks in Israel made them feel less safe as a Jewish person in the U.S., and 46 percent say they altered their behavior out of fear of antisemitism, according to the American Jewish Committee’s State of Antisemitism in America Report. In the three months since Oct. 7th, U.S. antisemitic incidents have skyrocketed, reaching 3,291 incidents, according to ADL’s (the Anti-Defamation League) preliminary data. This represents a 361 percent increase compared to the same period one year prior, which saw 712 incidents.

“Our staff has worked alongside educators for over two decades to educate our youth, and this Resource is an extension of that work. With antisemitism at a terrifying high and the unfettered spread of misinformation in the age of social media, the Museum felt a responsibility to develop an easy-to-use, accessible, and practical resource to help teachers and students understand what is happening right now. We have been and will continue to be a trusted source of accurate information for thousands of students—and their teachers—each year. Dangerous myths and stereotypes are what started the Holocaust, and our commitment is to ensure that will never happen again,” said Jack Kliger, President and CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

“In light of the alarming rise in incidents of hate and antisemitism in New York and across the nation and around the globe, our responsibility to combat ignorance has never been more critical,” said Bruce Ratner, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “By equipping teachers with a comprehensive document that outlines how to address questions, misconceptions, and fallacies about antisemitism, we empower them to impart essential knowledge early on. Understanding what constitutes antisemitism is not merely an academic exercise; it is a powerful tool that can change lives. By arming educators with the resources to navigate these challenging conversations, we strive to build a future where empathy triumphs over prejudice, and knowledge triumphs over ignorance.”

“At NYC Public Schools, we are committed to ensuring our schools are safe and inclusive for every single student, staff member, and family. Hate has no home in our classrooms,” said New York City Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “In my announcement in January about the New York City Public Schools’ plan to meet this challenging moment, we committed to expanding instructional resources for schools, and to that end, we will be sharing the museum’s new antisemitism resources with our school communities. The need to educate the next generation about antisemitism feels more urgent now than ever, and we are proud and grateful to be longtime partners with the Museum of Jewish Heritage- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in this important work.”

“As New York’s public university, CUNY is proud to be a strong ally of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in its efforts to help educators bring greater knowledge of antisemitism to students throughout the city,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “Education institutions of every kind have a critical obligation and a unique power to confront antisemitism and all forms of hate. In many ways, we are on the frontlines of that battle – one that has become ever more urgent in light of the uptick of antisemitic incidents in recent years and especially since the October 7th attacks. By actively raising and addressing the most salient questions about the dark history of antisemitism and the threat it poses in today’s world, the Antisemitism FAQ Educator Resource can be an important tool for opening young people’s minds – and their hearts.”

“As educators, we must be ever mindful that history is a living, breathing thing that we ignore at our peril,” said Dara Winkler, an English teacher whose classes at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Secondary School for the Arts & Technology in Queens, whose students have visited the museum and taken part in its programming. “Younger generations, further removed from the Holocaust, and with greater exposure to readily attainable misinformation through social media, are uniquely vulnerable to the insidious fallacies of online propaganda. Only when confronted with the worst of humanity can we hope to develop the tools to defeat it, and give them to our children.”

“Having been an educator myself, I commend the Museum of Jewish Heritage for their unwavering dedication to combatting antisemitism through education, compassion, and the preservation of history,” said New York City Council Member Eric Dinowitz, Chair of the Council’s Jewish Caucus. “In light of recent events and the troubling rise in antisemitic hate crimes, this new school Resource initiative couldn’t be more timely or crucial. This guide is smartly condensed, but comprehensive, and in turn serves as a beacon of enlightenment, delving deep into the roots of Jewish hate and providing essential knowledge to current and future generations. This Resource not only educates but also evokes a profound sense of empathy and understanding. It dispels stereotypes and tropes, offering a generous understanding for those who may not be familiar with the complexities of antisemitism. In times of turmoil and ignorance, it is initiatives like these that serve as a powerful tool for fostering unity and combating hate. As we strive for a more inclusive and compassionate society, we embrace the invaluable lessons in this resource and know that all who learn from it will stand in solidarity with the Jewish community against antisemitism.”

“I am thrilled that the Museum of Jewish Heritage has undertaken the responsibility of providing teachers and students in classrooms throughout the city with vital history and information on antisemitism and the Holocaust. It is so important that our young people understand the historical context of the violence and ostracization that Jewish people have faced throughout history and the hate and ignorance Jewish people still face today. I am thankful that the museum took this opportunity to prioritize dispelling harmful misinformation and continue to lead as a significant educational resource for New York,” said New York City Council Member Julie Menin.

“As a grandson of Holocaust survivors, a former high school history teacher, and former New York City Council Education Committee Chair, I know how important and meaningful the new Antisemitism FAQ Educator Resource, developed by the Museum of Jewish Heritage, will be for NYC students, educators, and school stakeholders, particularly in a post-October 7th world with skyrocketing cases of antisemitism,”said Mark Treyger, CEO of Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “A September 2020 survey titled, the U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey, found that the majority of millennial and Gen Z respondents did not know that over 6 million Jews died during the Holocaust. Additionally, New York State earned one of the lowest grades on the Holocaust Knowledge Score, reinforcing the significance of this sorely needed education resource for school communities. This new invaluable resource also recognizes the supplemental and community support our dedicated educators need to deepen knowledge and connections to advance a more safe, supportive, and inclusive school system. I commend the museum for serving as a great New York resource and always stand ready to partner with them and other community partners to support this critical work.”

The Museum is committed to protecting the historical record and promoting understanding of Jewish heritage and serves 60,000 students annually. For over 25 years, the Museum has offered professional development to educators in public, private, and religious schools, in addition to daily guided tours of the Museum’s exhibitions. The Museum recently debuted the Holocaust Educator School Partnership, a special partnership with New York City Department of Education middle and high schools that will reach over 13,000 students from 52 public schools in the 2023-2024 academic year—both in their schools and at the Museum.

The Museum opposes antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of hatred, including hatred on the basis of ethnicity, religion, nationality, and other shared group identities. While the Museum naturally focuses on antisemitism, as an institution dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich heritage of Jewish culture, it is committed to promoting peace, tolerance, and understanding among all peoples, toward a vision of a world where different cultures and religions coexist in harmony.