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Hadassah Joins Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Other Jewish NGO’s to Announce Historic Bipartisan Legislation on Holocaust Education

Tuesday, Feb 5 2019

Hadassah leaders with Rep. Maloney & Holocaust survivor Ruth Zimbler, Chair of Hadassah Donor Services for Planned Giving

MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Contact: Renee Young
Hadassah National Public Relations
ryoung@hadassah.org
212.303.8140

Hadassah Joins Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Other Jewish NGO’s to Announce Historic Bipartisan Legislation on Holocaust Education

February 5, 2019 – NEW YORK, NY – Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) and other Jewish advocacy groups joined Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) at the Center for Jewish History to address a national rise in anti-Semitism and to announce the reintroduction of the Never Again Education Act. This proposed bipartisan legislation will create a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Education to give teachers across the United States the resources and training necessary to teach our nation’s children the important lessons of the Holocaust and the horrific consequences of hate and intolerance. Congresswoman Maloney introduced the bill last Thursday with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21).

Hadassah, the nation’s largest Zionist women’s organization, is the lead NGO working on the Never Again Education Act and was responsible for sending thousands of letters supporting this bill and securing many of the House supporters of this legislation. Hadassah Executive Director / CEO Janice Weinman spoke at the bill’s official announcement last April in New York City.

Maloney states: “In the past few years, there has been a significant rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes throughout our nation and in New York City. According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have spiked roughly 60 percent between 2016 and
2017. NYPD figures show over 180 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, a 22 percent spike from 2017, and a 38.6 percent increase from 2016. We must be vigilant in the fight against hatred and ensure our youth understand the horrors of the Holocaust and the intolerance and bigotry that led to it, so we can fulfill the promise of ‘Never Again.’”

Maloney continues, “We are at a dangerous moment in time. Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world and here at home, and the memory of the Holocaust is fading for large numbers of our youth. It is simply not enough to condemn hateful, violent attacks to the Jewish community- we must take steps to educate people about the horrors of the Holocaust and the consequences of intolerance. I am proud to reintroduce the Never Again Education Act, so that we can be vigilant in the fight against hatred and give teachers across the United States the resources and training they need to teach our children the important lessons of the Holocaust.”

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik states, “Over the last few years, a concerning number of anti-Semitic incidents have occurred in our country. My hope is that this bill will combat the rise of this inexcusable behavior by further educating our nation’s students on the unthinkable and innumerable atrocities of the Holocaust. As a nation, we cannot allow a return to the hateful actions that led to the Holocaust and I’m proud to do my part to change it.”

Weinman noted at the February 4th press conference that “Given the numerous recent polls which reveal that the Holocaust is fading from memory, especially in younger demographics, we must be vigilant about anti-hate education. We must insist that Americans understand, consider and do something about the growing hate in our country. The Never Again Education Act will provide vital resources to schools nationwide, including funds for teacher training, high-level curricula, meetings with survivors and field trips to museums so that students receive the exposure they need to understand the consequences of hate.

Weinman adds, “Hadassah is proud to serve as the non-governmental organization (NGO) convener of the bill, mobilizing our 300,000 members and supporters as well as other non-profit organizations around the country to garner support for it. Our New York and Washington DC advocacy teams and our members in every congressional district are working closely with the Congresswomen and her staff, and we will continue to take action until we see the passage of this important legislation. Congresswoman Maloney, thank you again for having us here today, for striving to do better for the students of America, and for making this world a better place to live in.”

Background:

  • Currently only eight states, including New York, have laws requiring we teach about the Holocaust in our schools and another 12 states recommend it.
  • In November a professor at Columbia University found swastikas painted in her office. Weeks later, a 9-year-old Hasidic boy was assaulted in Williamsburg and shortly after that a Hasidic man was attacked only blocks from the first attack. Earlier this month, stickers with disturbing and hateful messages were posted around my district in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Just last week, two Hasidic men were beaten and left bloodied by three men in Crown Heights.
  • A recent poll found that 31 percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. 41 percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. 52 percent of Americans wrongly believe Hitler came to power through force.
  • Cosponsors (24): Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Filemón Vela (D-TX), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Max Rose (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Ron Kind (D-WI), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

What the bill does:

  • Establishes a federal fund at the Department of Education, the “Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund.” The fund is able to accept private donations in addition to appropriated funds. The fund will finance grants to public and private middle and high schools to help teachers develop and improve Holocaust education programs.
  • Gives funding directly to teachers to develop individualized programs that best suit their students’ needs.
  • Expenses include training for educators, textbooks, transportation and housing for teachers to attend seminars, transportation for survivors to be brought to a school, and field trips.
  • Creates a Holocaust Education website as a central hub of resources and best practices for teachers interested in Holocaust education.
  • Curriculum experts at the Department of Education will work with trained Holocaust educators to conduct regional workshops that help teachers work within their state and local education requirements to incorporate the sensitive subject of the Holocaust into their classrooms.
  • Creates an Advisory Board to help develop the competitive criteria for grants, select the content for the website, and lead fundraising efforts for the program.

Benefits:

  • Teachers face many barriers to teaching the Holocaust: a lack of awareness of where to find resources, a lack of funding to take advantage of these resources, and a lack of knowledge for how to incorporate the subject into their curriculums. This program will help teachers overcome these barriers at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
  • Private Holocaust education centers provide valuable training programs, curriculum and other resources, but are limited to helping the schools in their area. This program will help these centers reach a broader audience and provide teachers with the tools to educate students in communities across the country.
  • This program will finally recognize the importance of Holocaust education at the federal level and teach our children about the valuable lessons from the Holocaust.

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With 300,000 members, associates and supporters Hadassah brings Jewish women together to effect change and advocate on critical issues such as medical care, research and women's empowerment – meeting with elected officials on Capitol Hill and locally through its Day in the District Program. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's two hospitals, the world-renowned trauma center and the leading research facility in Jerusalem, Hadassah supports the delivery of exemplary patient care to over a million people every year. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace” through equality in medical treatment. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org.

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