By Marla Topiol, Israel & Antisemitism Education Coordinator
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is a local organization that combats anti-Jewish bigotry through education & advocacy. Currently, we continue to see an increase in people experiencing antisemitism in Indiana, with many of the incidents impacting the Jewish community’s school-aged children.
Part of the work I do at the JCRC is being a resource for educators and educational institutions across Indiana. In this role, I serve as a sounding board, provide reliable programming, and teacher trainings to build understanding of the Jewish community, antisemitism, the Holocaust, and Israel.
Through directly working with educators and serving as a resource to the at-large community, I believe we will have a critical impact on the next generation. A study released on Sept. 16, titled, U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey, found that 66 percent of Gen Zers do not know how many Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust among other concerning reports. To highlight the seriousness of the report and the need for reliable education on the topic, the JCRC connected Holocaust Survivor and Educator Frank Grunwald for an interview with WTHR about his experience in the Holocaust and his thoughts on the report. This work becomes more important each day as survivors are aging, the increase need for reliable educational resources and the persistence of antisemitism.
I am calling on you community members reading this article to help connect the JCRC to educators and other institutions to help garner these relationships with educators and institutions. Personal connections strengthen our ability to bring programs and resources on the Jewish community, antisemitism, the Holocaust and Israel to people far beyond our reach as a trusted resource.
One of the most unique programs we offer is Student to Student, a peer to peer educational program, where we train Jewish teens to go into classrooms/youth groups/etc. to talk about what it is like to be a Jewish teen. This program has been extremely successful because it fosters relationships early on between the teens.
We offer many resources beyond the few I have mentioned. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!