Responding to Contemporary Antisemitism in the Classroom

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on June 8, 2021

Star of David_LargeAs the nation reacts to the wave of antisemitic attacks that have been occurring in cities across the country in recent weeks, educators have an opportunity to help students gain a deeper understanding of contemporary antisemitism. In these times, teachers can play a vital role in helping students and communities respond to acts of hate. 

Facing History invites educators to use this wealth of resources to structure reflection and learning in your classroom around these contemporary events and the histories that inform them:

1. Provide Historical Context
Use our lesson, “The Roots and Impact of Antisemitism,” featured in our seminal case study, Holocaust and Human Behavior, to introduce the long history of antisemitism. This lesson offers an overview of the origins and rise of antisemitism beginning in the Enlightenment and invites the student to consider how these developments shape current events and contemporary attitudes.

2. Connect Past to Present
Use our Teaching Idea, “Rising Antisemitism and Fading Memories of the Holocaust,” to illuminate how declining awareness of the Holocaust has accompanied an uptick in acts of antisemitic violence. The resource invites your students to consider the relationship between the two, and examine the ways in which history can be used to promote safe and just societies today.

3. Examine Contemporary Antisemitism
Our lesson, “The Persistence of Hate: What the 2017 Unite the Right Rally Revealed about Contemporary Antisemitism,” focuses on the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, VA as a case study in contemporary antisemitism, and explores the connection between antisemitism and racism. 

4. Highlight its Prevalence
Our video featuring Rising Out of Hatred author Eli Saslow addresses the connections between contemporary antisemitism and white nationalism in the U.S., and the troubling prevalence of these attitudes beyond small groups of extremists.

5. Share Examples of Resistance
Our lesson, “Contemporary Antisemitism and Youth,” invites students to reflect upon present-day manifestations of antisemitism as they emerge online and on college campuses, and presents examples of youth who are standing up to bigotry and hate.

Access Tools for Educators


Topics: Antisemitism, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.


Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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