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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Trump Signs Holocaust Education Bill Into Law

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President Donald Trump signed the Never Again Education Act into law on May 28.

The bill, which had passed the Senate on May 13, provides $10 million in five years for schools across the country to implement the United State Holocaust Museum’s programming on the Holocaust.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who co-authored the bill, told Jewish News Syndicate (JNS), “Our children are not born with hate in their hearts, and by providing educators with the tools they need to teach about the Holocaust, we can ensure they never learn it. Teaching our children about the dangers of anti-Semitism and hate is a proactive way to stop anti-Semitism before it even starts.”

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America National President Rhoda Smolow and CEO and Executive Director Janice Weinman issued a joint statement that read, “Hadassah applauds President Trump for signing the Never Again Education Act into law. His act caps a bipartisan effort to ensure educators will have enhanced resources available to teach the critical lessons of the Holocaust. America’s commitment to ‘Never Again’ is unwavering and unifying. Studying how the Holocaust happened, to whom and why is not just simply history. It’s a lesson for today and for the future. You cannot stand up against hatred if you can’t identify it. The Never Again Education Act will help educate millions of Americans to be prepared to act.”

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee similarly said in a statement, “This is an important win for our country. With the abhorrent rise in anti-Semitism sweeping across the nation we’ve seen the dramatic impact that ignorance about the Holocaust can have. No student’s education is complete without a firm understanding of the greatest genocide ever committed. This legislation takes an important step forward in ensuring the next generation understands the horrors and dangers of anti-Semitism. I am very grateful to the President for signing this bill into law.”

Writer Melissa Braunstein wrote in Arc Digital that getting the bill signed into law was the easy part, the hard part will be properly implementing it.

“Designing and implementing a curriculum that is meaningful to millions of students who have no familial connection to the Holocaust and are unlikely to ever meet Holocaust survivors (as time marches on) will be harder,” Braunstein wrote. “That’s especially true if the goal is not only to ‘provide insight into the past,’ but also ‘to prevent anti-Semitism now,’ as Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) said, after the bill’s passage.”

She added that Holocaust education should include identifying modern anti-Semitism, debunking common anti-Semitic myths and humanizing Jews.

“Highlight personal courage through stories of the Righteous Among the Nations — the non-Jewish individuals honored by Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Museum, who risked their lives to help Jews during the Holocaust — and underscore the importance of breathing life into the phrase ‘never again,’” Braunstein wrote. “Because without the public actively remembering the horrors of the Holocaust and opposing rising anti-Semitism in our time, ‘never again’ is just a slogan.”

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