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Educator Resources to Address Antisemitism in Public Schools

Educator Resources to Address Antisemitism in Public Schools

As antisemitism (bigotry against Jewish people) and other extremist beliefs spread across the country, education plays a critical role in fighting ignorance, hate speech, and discrimination. Unfortunately, we have seen acts of antisemitism in our own backyard, from a shooting at a local synagogue to graffiti at schools. We can create cultures of care in the classroom by allowing students to listen and learn about the experiences of their classmates. Listed below are resources from educational organizations, many of which are being promoted and used by state departments of education and teachers across the country.

These resources are not meant to be exhaustive, nor is their inclusion an endorsement of a particular political viewpoint. 

The International Definition of Antisemitism

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) created a definition of antisemitism that begins:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.  

Teaching Resources

What is antisemitism? 

Created by the International Holocaust Alliance (IHRA), this working definition of antisemitism is a comprehensive definition adopted by over 30 democratic countries, including the United States. It is also included in the California Department of Education’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). The reason for its widespread acceptance is that it reflects the real life experiences of Jews who face this bigotry today. Schools and school districts can use IHRA as a tool to educate students about all forms of antisemitism, past and present. It is also a tool to help determine whether an incident of hatred or discrimination has occurred. 

Jewish Americans lesson

The Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS) creates and improves the accuracy of K-12 instructional materials, develops standards-aligned curricula, and provides professional development to teachers. 
The lesson by ICS is included in the ESMC, which is being updated now.

Antisemitism and Jewish Middle Eastern Americans lesson plan; Oral history project video series

Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North African (JIMENA) aims to achieve "universal recognition for the heritage and history of the 850,000 indigenous Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa." JIMENA’s lesson plan has been adopted by the California State Department of Education.

Resources from the Federal Government 

The U.S. Department of Education has a fact sheet with links to tools to tackle antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of discrimination and bias.

At the federal level, a hate crime is defined as a criminal offense motivated in whole or in part by the offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. The U.S. Department of Justice and FBI have a Hate Crime Threat Response Guide to help us protect our communities together. 

The Roots and Impacts of Antisemitism lesson plan

Facing History focuses on using lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate. Their resources are widely used in schools across the United States.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

The ADL's goal is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. The ADL’s resources are used in schools across the United States:

Southern Poverty Law Center - Learning For Justice

The rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia in our society is also taking place in our schools. To address these forms of hate in schools and classrooms, we need to understand and address bigotry and proactively take measures to emphasize inclusion. This article has a toolkit and links to additional resources.

Museums for Virtual Programs and Field Trips

  • Museum of Tolerance (Los Angeles)
  • Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles)
  • American Jewish Historical Society (New York)
  • Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
  • Emma Lazarus Exhibit (New York)
  • Holocaust Center for Humanity (Seattle)
  • Jewish Museum of Maryland  
  • Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience
  • National Museum of American Jewish History (Philadelphia)
  • Sephardic Heritage Museum (New York)
  • The Breman (Atlanta)
  • The Jewish Museum (New York)
  • Touro Synagogue - Oldest Synagogue in the U.S. (Newport, RI) (Sephardic)
  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington DC)   

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