NYC schoolkids touring Museum of Jewish Heritage as part of effort to combat hate crimes

Juliet Papa
January 15, 2020 - 2:06 pm
Students touring the Auschwitz exhibit

Juliet Papa/1010 WINS

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – The city Department of Education has teamed up with the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan to provide field trips and educate city schoolkids about anti-Semitism.

The goal is to get school kids in neighborhoods with sizable Jewish populations—including Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park— to visit the museum on class trips.

The Education Department is organizing field trips for students in grades 8 to 10 to help combat hate crimes in the city. There have been more than a dozen anti-Semitic attacks in Brooklyn in the past few weeks alone, not to mention an overall rise in such bias crimes in the city over many months.

Eighth graders from P.S. 84 in Williamsburg toured the Auschwitz exhibit at the museum on Wednesday.

Deborah Lauter, the executive director of the city Office of the Prevention of Hate Crimes, told the students that many abuses led up to the genocide of European Jews.

“The Holocaust didn’t happen in a vacuum. It starts with name-calling. It starts with prejudice, discrimination, and then what you are going to see today—a genocide,” Lauter told students.

Lauter joined schools Chancellor Richard Carranza to usher in the new education program, which is designed to foster understanding.

Jack Kliger, the president of the museum, also spoke with students at the exhibit, describing the horrific history on display there.

“One of the first things you’ll see when you walk in is not just railroad tracks and guardrails, but you’ll see a pile of shoes,” Kliger said, explaining those shoes were collected from prisoners of the death camp.

One student named Jasmine told 1010 WINS that the key is for students to communicate.

“To me that just means that we as students should be given the opportunity to interact with other kids from the Jewish community,” she said.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to be here so we can learn more about the Jewish history,” another student said.

The museum is providing up to four free tickets to the family of any public school student with their ID card or other proof of enrollment.

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