The New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (MJH) are expanding their partnership as part of city’s commitment to implementing hate crime awareness programming in schools.
Generally, local Brooklyn politicians are excited about the partnership. Each elected displayed a personal commitment to combatting anti-Semitism in school and beyond.
“With the disturbing rise in anti-Semitism and other forms of hate crimes it is the duty of all of us to teach our children the lessons of the past to ensure that history does not get repeated. This partnership with the Museum of Jewish Heritage will ensure that the story of the Holocaust is taught in schools today, and the importance of tolerance and acceptance of people matter no their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion,” said U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan).
As part of the alliance, the DOE will work closely with principals in Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough Park to send all eighth- and tenth-grade classes, totaling 14,000 students, in these neighborhoods on field trips to the museum. In addition, all public school families with students 12 and over will be able to visit the museum free of charge.
“In a city as diverse as New York, an attack against one community must be treated as an attack against all of us,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Gravesend, Brighton Beach). “As the son of Holocaust survivors, I grew up knowing the importance of talking about my family’s story and educating others about the dangers of staying silent in the face of bigotry and inhumanity. This partnership between the Department of Education and the Museum of Jewish Heritage will give children the opportunity to see and learn from those who bore witness to humankind’s greatest atrocity — and, as a result, to take responsibility for carrying forward the message that anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred have no place in our society.”
This expanded partnership builds on the DOE’s existing relationship with the MJH, which has included the development of the MJH’s Holocaust Curriculum available to all schools for grades six through twelve. The curriculum features free lesson plans accessible through the MJH Meilman Virtual Classroom, primary sources, and other resources for teachers of middle and high school.
“As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I am very grateful to the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Department of Education for providing this incredible educational opportunity to all New York City public school students. As the incidence and rhetoric of hate increases nationwide, it has never been more important for students to learn about the devastating history of hate violence, symbols of hate, and genocide. Council Member Steve Levin and I, joined by a majority of our colleagues, have called on the Department of Education to implement a citywide genocide and anti-hate education curriculum, and this partnership is an important first step towards ensuring that young people truly understand the emotional weight and moral imperative of ‘Never again,’” said Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Gravesend, and Sea Gate) Chair of the Committee on Education.
The expanded partnership between DOE and MJH includes Field Trips for New York City public school students, Professional development for teachers and speakers in schools, and tickets available to all public school families. Tickets will be available to both students and their families through Aug. 30 and will provide access to all parts of the museum. Previously, all public school students were eligible for free admission – now, that opportunity is being opened up to their families as well.
“Education is the first step to dismantling hate. When someone opens their heart and mind to new ideas, they begin seeing parallels in lived experiences, finding commonality with their neighbors,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights) “Black and Jewish Americans share a history of violent marginalization and I support any effort to teach our children about the reality and destructiveness of hatred and bigotry. I commend the Department of Education for this thoughtful partnership and opportunity for our students.”
The improved partnership is expected to help schools become a more welcoming environment for all students. Overall, Brooklyn elected officials see the need for more inclusive curriculum in New York City schools.
“It is important that we use education to build bridges as we respond to, and hope to prevent further, incidents of anti-Semitism and hate-based violence in our communities. The Museum of Jewish Heritage provides invaluable insight into our living history of the destructive path of othering and scapegoating,” said Council Member Stephen Levin (D-Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, Fulton Ferry, Greenpoint, Vinegar Hill, Williamsburg). “However, it is important that the Holocaust is taught within the broader context of other genocides and state-sponsored oppression. By teaching our shared and continued history of trauma, we can inoculate against hate through building knowledge and empathy.”
New and enhanced school programming will include workshops with community partners and building-on existing social studies curricula and resources. Curriculum on hate crimes will launch at schools in Brooklyn neighborhoods beginning in the 2020-21 school year, and will become available city-wide.
“With the recent spike in anti-Semitic incidents within my district and across the city, the expanded partnership between our city schools and the Museum of Jewish Heritage will serve as a powerful tool of education and empowerment for our youth and their families, combating hatred with tolerance. We must continue to share the stories of the past to make for a safer, healthier, and happier future,” said Council Member Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant ).
Although this partnership is expected to significantly contribute to children’s education surrounding anti-semitism, it is acknowledged that this is just one step of many, in the right direction.
“As the city of New York deals with a rise in acts of anti-Semitism, it is crucial that our community leaders work together to address this crisis. I want to commend Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, the Department of Education, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage for this expanded partnership that will increase the city’s ability to implement hate crime awareness programming for our students. In the face of bigotry, the city of New York has demonstrated its commitment to protecting and supporting communities of faith,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene (D-Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Park, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens).
“It is my belief that by continuing to build these partnerships, we will create a more tolerant living environment for all New Yorkers,” Eugene added.