January 15, 2020
NEW YORK –The de Blasio Administration announced today an expanded partnership between the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (MJH) as part of the City’s commitment to implementing hate crime awareness programming in schools across the City. 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 New York City public school families with students 12 and over will be able to visit the Museum free of charge.
“To ensure a safer and more welcoming future, we must teach our children about the destructive force of hate,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This partnership with the Museum of Jewish Heritage will give all our students and their families the chance to learn about our past to create a better future.”
“As a former social studies teacher, I know how important it is for students to learn about the past in order to understand the world around them,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “The lessons of The Holocaust must never be forgotten, and we’re grateful to the Museum of Jewish Heritage for expanding our partnership. In the wake of recent anti-Semitic attacks in our City, we’re committed to helping students and school communities engage in thoughtful and respectful dialogue, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage is instrumental in achieving that goal.”
“Ignorance is as dangerous as hate. The mission of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is to educate people of all ages and backgrounds, with students being our most important audience. Deepening the Museum’s partnership with the New York City Department of Education at this critical time will give more students the knowledge to recognize antisemitism and the ability to empathize with others who may be different,” said Jack Kliger, President & CEO, Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
“We have seen a startling increase in swastika vandalism in New York City, which has contributed to the high number of anti-Semitic hate crimes. By studying the Holocaust, students learn about the meaning of this symbol and where stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination can lead,” said Deborah Lauter, Executive Director of the New York City Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carranza, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage on this initiative to educate students and their families about the consequences of hate and the importance of standing up for others.”
This expanded partnership builds on the Department of Education’s existing relationship with the Museum of Jewish Heritage, which has included the development of the Museum of Jewish Heritage Holocaust Curriculum, available to all schools for grades six through twelve. The curriculum features free lesson plans accessible through the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s Meilman Virtual Classroom, primary sources, and other resources for teachers of middle and high school. Today’s announcement represents an unprecedented expansion on the DOE and MJH’s commitment to educating students about Jewish life before, during and after the Holocaust.
The expanded partnership between DOE and MJH includes:
Field Trips for New York City public school students
All eighth- and tenth-grade students in Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough Park will have the opportunity to attend field trips to the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. The DOE will work closely with principals in these districts to coordinate and organize field trips, for the approximately 14,000 New York City public school students in these grades and neighborhoods to visit the Museum this school year.
Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. is the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the history of Auschwitz and its role in the Holocaust ever presented in North America. Featuring more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs, the exhibition traces the development of Nazi ideology and tells the transformation of Auschwitz from an ordinary Polish town known as Oświęcim to the most significant Nazi site of the Holocaust. The exhibition was produced by the international exhibition firm Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland.
Tickets available to all New York City public school families
Effective immediately, all New York City public school students 12 and over will be able to receive free tickets to the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust for them to visit the Museum with up to three family members. Students can show their student ID, report card, or other form of proof of enrollment at a New York City public school at the Museum to receive admission free of charge. Tickets will be available to students and their families through August 30, 2020 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.
Professional development for teachers and speakers in schools
The New York City Department of Education will continue to partner with the Museum of Jewish Heritage to provide professional development to teachers. The next professional development session, entitled “Exploring Multiple Perspectives with Primary Sources” is scheduled for Friday, January 31. Teachers will learn how to help students deepen their understanding of content by comparing, contrasting, and evaluating primary source documents related to the Holocaust and incorporating this learning into their classroom lessons. Registration is ongoing, and teachers interested in attending can sign up here.
The Museum has also committed to providing Holocaust survivors who are part of the Museum’s Speakers Bureau to address New York City schools, especially in schools in Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough Park neighborhoods, to help bring learning about the Holocaust directly to schools and communities.
The DOE is committed to ensuring schools are welcoming, inclusive environments for all students and will be implementing additional hate crime awareness programming this month for middle and high schools in the Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough neighborhoods, including workshops with community partners and leveraging existing social studies curricula and resources. Curriculum on hate crimes will be launched at middle and high schools in these neighborhoods beginning in the 2020-21 school year. These curriculum resources will also be available to middle and high schools citywide.
Citywide, the DOE has distributed resources to facilitate important conversations in the classroom on promoting respect and addressing hate crimes, and the annual Respect for All week in February will focus on preventing and addressing hate crimes. Schools are encouraged to develop opportunities for students to discuss what discrimination and religious intolerance might look like in a school and collectively explore the positive actions they can take to promote acceptance, inclusion, and the diversity of their communities.
“In order to ensure we chart a path for an inclusive, compassionate, and brighter future, we must safeguard against the destructive and corrosive forces of hate,” Attorney General Letitia James said. “This expanded partnership between NYC public schools and the Museum of Jewish Heritage is welcomed news. Educating our youth about the real dangers of ignorance and hate is crucial to helping them recognize and reject anti-Semitism in all its insidious forms.”
“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 insure that history does not get repeated, said Rep. Jerrold Nadler. “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 Representative Jerrold Nadler.
"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. "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."
“We must educate the next generation of leaders in order to reduce hate and build understanding about the history of anti-Semitism. This partnership between the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Department of Education will help give our children the tools they need to be more compassionate and intolerant of hate, which has no place in our City. The Council is deeply troubled by the horrific uptick of anti-Semitic attacks in New York and will work with our partners in the not for profit world and in government to combat these crimes and make sure Jewish people feel safe and protected in their own neighborhoods,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“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, Chair of the Committee on Education.
“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. “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.”
“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. “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.”
“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.
“Far, far too few New York City students can name even one concentration camp or ghetto from the 1940’s, let alone fully understand or contextualize how the Jewish people’s history is connected to the current crisis of Anti-Semitism,” said City Council Member Mark Levine. “To get beyond this crisis we need to dramatically expand curriculum in our schools and the availability of educational resources, like access to institutions like the Museum of Jewish Heritage, on the history of the Holocaust, hate and all genocides. This initiative is another step toward our shared goal of defeating hate through education and understanding. ”
“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. It is my belief that by continuing to build these partnerships, we will create a more tolerant living environment for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.