N.Y.C. Public Schools Will Send 8th Graders to Visit Holocaust Museum

As tension continues to simmer over the Israel-Hamas war, New York City officials have embraced a privately funded initiative to send all eighth graders in public and charter schools to visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

The program, part of a $2.5 million public-private partnership to address antisemitism, will be seeded with $1 million from a foundation run by Jon Gray, the president of the investment firm Blackstone.

The citywide field trip plan, which will be announced on Thursday and would start this fall, will center on the museum’s efforts to educate younger visitors about the Holocaust. The initiative comes as schools grapple with questions about how to approach the Israel-Hamas war and what to teach about the history of the conflict.

In places like California, there have been pushes for teaching pro-Palestinian lessons in schools. Leaders in New York City’s school system, which is particularly diverse, with tens of thousands of Jewish, Muslim and Arab students, are moving to offer new curriculum materials about antisemitism and Islamophobia.

New York is one of nearly two dozen states that are required to teach students about the Holocaust, and lawmakers included $500,000 in the state budget this year to review and update Holocaust curriculums in schools.

The field trip program was created by Julie Menin, a Jewish city councilwoman from Manhattan whose mother and grandmother survived the Holocaust in Hungary. She said that she was worried about a rise in antisemitic attacks in the city.

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