Edmonton, AB – November 10, 2023 – Jewish Federation of Edmonton, Calgary Jewish Federation, and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs applaud the Government of Alberta for mandating Holocaust education as part of the province’s new social studies curriculum.
Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides made the announcement last night prior to the Kristallnacht commemoration at Beth Israel Synagogue in Edmonton while surrounded by members of the local Jewish community and leadership from the Calgary Jewish community. Also called ‘Night of Broken Glass’ or ‘November Pogroms,’ Kristallnacht refers to the night of November 9-10, 1938, when the Nazi parties in Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia spurred violent mobs to attack Jews and Jewish property including synagogues, Jewish businesses, and homes.
“Education is crucial to ensuring our children learn the lessons of the past and are equipped to stand up against hate today. Implementing mandatory Holocaust education will create a safer Alberta for all. We want to thank Premier Danielle Smith, Minister Nicolaides, and the Alberta Government for supporting the Jewish community and fighting antisemitism and hate,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
“This announcement comes at a time when antisemitism has spiked across Canada and around the world. It is crucial that the next generations learn about how hate surfaces. Whether it’s distortion of Holocaust history or misinformation about Hamas’ terrorist attacks, both are rooted in antisemitism, and today’s announcement demonstrates that the Alberta government is dedicated to fighting hate in all its forms,” said Stacey Leavitt-Wright, CEO, Jewish Federation of Edmonton.
“Creating an antiracist society starts at the school-age level and Holocaust education is an important tool in helping our students learn about the underlying ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping. What is happening in our society today is an important warning about the need to teach the universal lessons of the Holocaust and the consequences of bigotry and hate. We applaud the province for helping to ensure that our youth will not only learn from, but keep the memory of the Holocaust alive,” said Adam Silver, CEO, Calgary Jewish Federation.
“I firmly believe we must do everything possible to combat rising antisemitism and educate young Albertans about the horrors of the Holocaust. Ensuring all students learn from one of history’s darkest chapters will help us confront hate and prevent similar atrocities from occurring,” said Minister Nicolaides.
Alberta is one of the leaders in Canada stepping up against hate, especially antisemitism. The adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism in September 2022 was the first step. A firm commitment to action is now demonstrated with the mandatory inclusion of Holocaust Education as part of the school curricula to ensure this history will never be forgotten.
Calgary Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Edmonton have been providing educational opportunities and programs for over 20 years and look forward to contributing to the development and implementation of these new curricula.
The decision makes Alberta the third province in Canada to introduce mandatory Holocaust education. Last month British Columbia’s Minister of Education announced the inclusion of mandatory Holocaust education in the province’s K-12 curriculum. Ontario took this step in September for its Grade 6 curriculum and supported the development of Unlearn It, a free, bilingual, online resource hub for educators and parents to support children in grades 6-8 in learning about antisemitism, how to identify it, and how to address it.
- Statistics Canada: Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2022
- Press Release: In 2022, Jews remain most targeted religious group for hate crime in Canada, second overall
- Jews in Canada represent only one percent of the population yet are victims of 67 percent of all religiously motivated hate incidents and 14 percent of overall reported hate crimes.
- The Jewish community was targeted in 502 reported hate crime incidents – that’s more than one incident of Jew-hatred per day in 2022.
- The Jewish community was the most targeted religious minority, accounting for 67 percent of religiously motivated hate.
- While religiously motivated hate crimes overall were down 15 percent year over year, hate crime targeting the Jewish community increased 2 percent between 2021 and 2022.
- Anti-Jewish hate crime has increased 52 percent since 2020.
- Press Release: Top Jewish Advocacy Organizations Form J7 Global Task Force to Fight Antisemitism
- Press Release: 2021 - Jews Remain Most Targeted Religious Group for Hate Crime in Canada
- Press Release: 2020 Hate Crime Data Reveals Jews Most Targeted Religious Group
- Not all hate crimes or incidents of antisemitism are reported or recorded. Not all incidents meet the threshold of a crime, especially in schools, so national hate crime statistics do not accurately reflect the total number of antisemitic incidents.
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
About the Jewish Federation of Edmonton
The Jewish Federation of Edmonton mobilizes and develops resources and strengthens relationships in order to provide leadership at home, in Israel, and around the world.
About the Calgary Jewish Federation
Calgary Jewish Federation works to create a vibrant, caring, welcoming and inclusive Jewish community locally, in Israel and around the world. Our over-arching goal is to ensure the continuity of the Jewish people, of Jewish traditions. We work to encourage affiliation, Jewish education and engagement through the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world; Tzedakah, justice, charity; Klal Israel, the unity of all the Jewish people; and Chesed, loving kindness.
For more information or to coordinate interviews, please contact:
For Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
Director, Media Relations and GTA Communications
For Jewish Federation of Edmonton
Tammy Vineberg, APR
Associate Director, Marketing and Communications
780-487-0585, ext. 204
For Calgary Jewish Federation
Director, Engagement Programs
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