As educators we are charged with the responsibility to help students learn about the important history that has shaped the world we live in today, build their capacity for critical thinking and encourage them to participate in civic engagement to help make their communities safer, more just, and prosperous. It is essential that we prioritize equity in our schools and communities by embracing courageous conversations about race so that we can collectively transform our schools and communities into places of love, safety, accountability and equitable opportunities. This is an opportunity to embrace our individual responsibility and inspire our youth to exercise their civic voice to transform the world they will inherit and lead.

- Dr. Faris Sabbah, Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools

On Saturday, January 15, 2022, there was an 11-hour standoff at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, in which the rabbi, Charlie Cytron-Walker, and three congregants were taken hostage by Malik Faisal Akram, a UK citizen. The ordeal ended after the rabbi threw a chair at their assailant, allowing the group to escape through a nearby exit. This act of terror is part of the rising climate of antisemitism across the globe. The Washington Post notes that due to the spike in antisemitism in recent years, Jewish houses of worship have become “forbidding gauntlets of protective measures: armed guards, searches, identity checks, questioning.” (From Facing History and Ourselves)

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education condemns all acts of antisemitism and has provided resources here for teachers to use with their students to teach about Jewish history and how to process and combat issues of racism, bigotry and hatred.

Click on the buttons below to access resources.