Holocaust Awareness 

In 2015, while pursuing a master’s degree in Religion from the University of Georgia, I was awarded a Summer Graduate Research Assistantship with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Prior to this appointment, my interest in the Holocaust was peripheral. Studying religion and violence, I was aware of and had a basic understanding of this period in history. However, during my time at the USHMM, I learned the true depth and breadth of the Holocaust’s impact on European and North African peoples. Specifically, I was further educated on antisemitic social consciousness as well as the rhetorical and legal structures put in place to target Jewish people and their descendants.

Antisemitism is Growing

Antisemitism, the hatred of or discrimination against Jewish people, has become more popular in our culture since my time at the USHMM. Building on the antisemitic rhetoric of the past, new voices have emerged that actively condemn Jewish people and celebrate Hitler. Recently, I have witnessed celebrities and radical groups alike promoting the hatred of Jewish peoples in the media, in their address of Holocaust museums, and by tainting the physical landscape of our country with Nazi symbols. With younger people growing more and more detached from this period in history, education is increasingly necessary to reiterate the values we must continue to uphold as a society if we are to remain welcoming to all people.

Education is Necessary

It is my belief that education related to the Holocaust and antisemitism is necessary to prevent the further promotion of antisemitic rhetoric and action. This need for education makes the Institute for Holocaust Research and Education vital in the contemporary period. I joined the IHRE because of my dedication to educating people not only about religion, but also about personhood. My hope is that, through the IHRE, we can come together to educate and inspire young people to lessen the impact of antisemitism on our society, and eventually eradicate it.