Published On: Sat, Aug 3rd, 2019

Jewish Leaders and Palm Beach County School Officials Meet to Address District’s Antisemitism and Holocaust Education

Holocaust Studies Meeting 2019

Boca Raton, FL –  In order to strengthen Holocaust education in local schools, and fulfill the state of Florida mandate for Holocaust education in public schools, Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County initiated a meeting on July 29, 2019 with leadership representing The School District of Palm Beach County.  Federation, its Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and The Gross Family Center for the Study of Antisemitism and the Holocaust represented an assembly of 13 Jewish organizations and a consortium of 35 organizations invested in Holocaust education.

School District officials were highly receptive and welcoming to the collaboration, resources and expertise offered by Federation, as well as Federation’s partnering organizations, and agreed to accept and support the following recommendations regarding Holocaust education procedures and curriculum in schools:

  • Demonstrate a clear commitment to the full implementation of the state’s Holocaust education mandate;
  • Provide training for principals and administrators about Holocaust education and antisemitism;
  • Support the formation of a joint task force, under the auspices of Jewish Federation, to monitor the school district’s implementation of the mandate.

Over the past two years, Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County and The Gross Family Center for the Study of Antisemitism and the Holocaust have convened a consortium of 35 local and national Jewish and non-Jewish organizations committed to Holocaust education. This consortium has been working with representatives of the School District to ensure that all students, teachers and administrators in Palm Beach County are upholding Florida’s Holocaust education mandate.

Lynn Peseckis, Chair of JCRC’s Antisemitism and Bigotry Task Force, stated, “It is vital to ensure that our community’s children and educators have a deeper understanding of the facts of the Holocaust and the horrific consequences of antisemitism. We appreciate the School District’s commitment to addressing and communicating matters of this importance.”  The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), is a division of Federation that advocates on issues of concern to the Jewish community in the Palm Beaches and beyond.

School District Board Chair Frank Barbieri and Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald, made a joint statement underscoring the district’s commitment, “The School District of Palm Beach County greatly appreciates the outreach of the Jewish Federation to support Holocaust education in Palm Beach County.  We are extremely excited about our renewed commitment of working together to provide our students with the best resources available on Holocaust education.”

The following School District leaders attended the meeting: Frank Barbieri, School Board Chair;  Edward Tierney, Chief of Staff of Superintendent; Keith Oswald, Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Schools; Glenda Sheffield, Chief Academic Officer; Diana Fedderman, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning; and Maureen Carter, K-12 Holocaust Studies Program Planner.

The following local and national Jewish community leaders also attended the meeting: Ira M. Gerstein, Federation Board Chair; Stacey Lampert, Chair of JCRC; Lynn Peseckis, chair of JCRC’s Antisemitism and Bigotry Task Force; Michael Hoffman, Federation President & CEO; Josephine Gon, Vice President of JCRC; Paul Gross and Lauren Gross, The Gross Family Center for the Study of Antisemitism and the Holocaust; Charles Hagy, Board member and Co-Chair of the Education Committee of the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews; Laurence Milstein, Director of AJC Palm Beach; and Sheri Zvi, Regional Director of ADL Florida.

For more information about Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, visitjewishpalmbeach.org.

About the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County

Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County works to transform, inspire and save lives in the Palm Beaches, Israel and 70 countries around the world. For more information about the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, visit jewishpalmbeach.org.

About the Jewish Community Relations Council

The mission of Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County’s Jewish Community Relations Council is to ensure a vibrant Jewish future by convening, educating and mobilizing the Jewish community to promote a secure Jewish and democratic State of Israel; combat antisemitism, discrimination and bigotry; foster understanding within and beyond the Jewish community; and champion a just and pluralistic society.

About the School District of Palm Beach County

The School District of Palm Beach County is the tenth largest in the nation and the fifth largest in the state of Florida with 179 schools, serving more than 176,000 students who speak 150 languages and dialects. As the largest employer in Palm Beach County, the school district has 22,600 employees, including more than 12,000 teachers. To learn more about the School District of Palm Beach County, visitwww.palmbeachschools.org.

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