I have heard the same question over and over since I received my gold medal in gymnastics on the Olympic podium. “You’re Jewish?” people ask in a surprised tone. Perhaps it is my appearance or the stereotype that Jews and sports don’t mix that makes my Jewish heritage so unexpected. I think about the attributes that helped me reach that podium: perseverance when faced with pain, years of patience and hope in an uncertain future, and a belief and devotion to something greater than myself. It makes it hard for me to believe that I did not look Jewish up on the podium. In my mind, those are attributes that have defined Jews throughout history.1
1Kerri Strug, “You’re Jewish?” in I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl, ed. Judea and Ruth Pearl (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2004), 98.
Inform students about the rising number of antisemitic incidents in the United States and explore the story of one teacher’s response to an antisemitic incident involving high school students in her community.
This Teaching Idea is designed to help students reflect on how the movies, shows, and books we consume can reinforce stereotypes about Muslims and the harmful impact stereotyping has on people's lives.
Holocaust Trivialization and Distortion: What Are the Implications of Comparing Current Events to the Holocaust?
Use this Teaching Idea to introduce students to contemporary examples of Holocaust trivialization and prompt reflection on the question “What are the implications of comparing current events to the Holocaust?”