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New York City Holocaust Museum Offers Free Field Trips to Combat Antisemitism

A Holocaust museum in New York City will provide free educational field trips to eighth-grade students in public schools to counter antisemitism.

New York City Holocaust Museum Offers Free Field Trips to Combat Antisemitism
Source: Museum of Jewish Heritage

Support and Funding

The program, announced Thursday, will allow up to 85,000 students from traditional public schools and charter schools to tour Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage over the next three years, beginning this fall. New York City, the largest school district in the nation with over a million students, will benefit from this initiative. Organizers believe that the museum and the new program can accommodate up to one-third of the district’s eighth graders annually.

Efforts to Combat Antisemitism

City Council member Julie Menin proposed the idea to the museum following the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, in response to the rising antisemitism in the United States. Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, incidents targeting Jewish and Muslim Americans have been reported across the country, ranging from offensive graffiti to violence. “We needed a proactive approach to combat this hatred at its roots,” said Menin, a Democrat and daughter of a Holocaust survivor. “That’s why I approached the Museum of Jewish Heritage with the vision of a universal field trip program.”

Financial Support & Program Details

The effort will cost around $2.5 million, with $1 million contributed by the Gray Foundation, a nonprofit supported by Blackstone CEO Jon Gray that funds various programs for New York youths, including cancer research. Menin mentioned that the museum will seek additional funding from other sources to cover the remaining costs. The museum already provides student discounts and free admission days. The new program will cover transportation, guides, and take-home materials for the eighth graders, Menin confirmed. The tours will emphasize the global history of antisemitism and propaganda that led to the Holocaust. They will also offer students an opportunity to reflect on current events, according to Menin’s statement.

School Participation

Principals will play a critical role in determining which schools will participate in the program, Menin explained in a phone conversation. Schools interested in the program can sign up through the museum’s website. New York City Public Schools spokesperson Nathaniel Styer stated that “programming is a school-based decision, but the funding in this announcement will help remove barriers to participation.”

New York City Holocaust Museum Offers Free Field Trips to Combat Antisemitism
Source: Act One Arizona

In testimony before the U.S. Congress earlier this month, New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks reported that the city has already begun implementing new measures to combat antisemitism in schools. These measures include the development of a new curriculum that highlights the culture and contributions of the Jewish community. New York schools are legally required to teach about the Holocaust, with a specific curriculum covering the subject starting in eighth grade.

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