Jewish students in our region report facing antisemitism on a regular basis in schools. It appears in various forms, such as the commonplace telling of “Holocaust jokes” amongst students, the drawings of swastikas on desks and in textbooks, and the propagation of Jewish stereotypes and antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Addressing the Problem
Since today’s Jewish students are tomorrow’s Jewish leaders and educators are the first line of defense in combating hate, countering contemporary antisemitism starts with them and in their schools.
Beyond responding to antisemitic incidents when they occur, JCRB|AJC proactively works to ensure that young Jews in Kansas City will be informed, prepared, and effective advocates for the Jewish people and for themselves.
In our continued efforts to prevent and address antisemitism in schools, JCRB|AJC proactively works to ensure that educators have an appropriate understanding of antisemitism. Then they will be able to recognize and address antisemitism when it occurs and they can more accurately teach about the Holocaust, Israel, and Judaism in their classrooms.
Through our proactive education initiatives, we will prepare students to effectively respond to antisemitism and we will educate teachers, school officials, and students about antisemitism so that they can help us prevent it in the future.
Prepare to Respond, Educate to Prevent (PREP) Education Initiatives
Prepare to Respond
Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT)
In 2019, JCRB|AJC launched AJC's Leaders For Tomorrow (LFT) program. There is no other comprehensive program in Kansas City that provides this critical resource—creating a new generation of inspired and informed Jewish leaders. LFT is a seven-month long leadership development program for high school students, grades 10-12. The program gives students the tools to talk about the issues impacting world Jewry today, and the confidence to stand up for these issues in college and throughout their lives.
Applications for the 2022-2023 cohort will open in Spring 2022.
Antisemitism Workshop for Students
Utilizing ADL's proven Words to Action workshop, we teach Jewish students, grades 6-12, how to recognize antisemitism and respond effectively. In this one-day virtual program, students will examine real-world examples of antisemitism and discuss how they can respond to antisemitism when they encounter it in their own lives. For more information about upcoming opportunities, contact Sarah Markowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We provide support for incoming and continuing college students so that we can address their concerns about publicly expressing their Jewish identities or support for Israel on their college campuses and prepare them to respond to antisemitism if needed. We partner with AJC Campus Affairs to provide resources and training about antisemitism and anti-Zionism. For more information about upcoming opportunities, contact Sarah Markowitz at email@example.com.
JCRB|AJC, KU Hillel, and AJC Campus Affairs have partnered together to offer the KU Hillel Jewish Leadership and Advocacy Fellowship. The program empowers Jewish college students to become advocates for global Jewry on-campus and in their local community. Students have the unique opportunity to learn about antisemitism, anti-Zionism, and Israel advocacy from AJC experts. Students also engage in advocacy and coalition-building training and will complete the program equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to confront antisemitism and to engage in tough conversations on campus. As the next generation of Jewish leaders, the program exposes students to future opportunities to engage with JCRB|AJC and AJC.
Student Incident Report Form
We provide a confidential online form for students to report any antisemitism they might experience or witness. JCRB|AJC will not take further action unless explicitly requested by the student. We want to better understand the experiences of Jewish students so that we can best adapt our programming and response. We also hope that students will be more likely to report incidents when doing so is both convenient and confidential.
Educate to Prevent
Teacher trainings in partnership with Midwest Center for Holocaust Education (MCHE)
JCRB|AJC partners with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education to promote and further Holocaust education in our region. We teach a unit on modern antisemitism as part of their “Holocaust Workshop featuring Big Sonia.” We also partner with MCHE for their annual Yom HaShoah service.
Teacher trainings through Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS)
JCRB|AJC partners with the Institute for Curriculum Services to provide free curricular resources, lesson plans, and workshops for middle school and high school teachers on how to teach accurately about the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel, Jewish history, and Judaism. For more information about upcoming opportunities, contact Sarah Markowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relationships with School Districts and Schools
Through its Education Committee and Education Liaisons, JCRB|AJC cultivates relationships with school districts and educational leaders around our region. We serve as a resource for addressing issues such as antisemitism, intolerance, and religious observance. We distribute a Calendar of Jewish Holidays each year to ensure that Jewish students are accommodated in their schools. We also partner with the Muslim Community to deliver presentations on Muslim and Jewish religious observances, antisemitism, and Islamophobia so that educators can better understand and support their Jewish and Muslim students.