Peter Maer moderating discussion about talking to kids about rising antisemitism


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

As antisemitism continues to rise, we’re faced with a question: How do we support Jewish children and teens when they face antisemitism? That is the question that veteran Jewish broadcast journalist Peter Maer and a panel of experts will try to answer next Tuesday, April 18, as part of a special virtual Yom HaShoah event. Maer will moderate the event on Zoom starting at 6 p.m. CST. The event is free and open to everyone, but registration is required.

“Like so many others, Jews and our non-Jewish friends, I am so very concerned about the recent rise and normalization of antisemitism as chronicled by the ADL, FBI and others,” said Maer. “We see a vital need to discuss Jewish pride in this era of rising antisemitism.  As someone who grew up in a small town, I know this topic is doubly important for many families.”

Maer grew up in Granite City, Ill. His parents would drive the family across the Mississippi River to United Hebrew Congregation, where he became a bar mitzvah and was confirmed. He started his broadcast career at stations in Belleville and St. Louis before becoming the White House Correspondent for CBS News covering the Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama administrations.

Maer explained that the idea for the program followed discussions with Aaron Hadley, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky.


Panelists include Jordan Kadosh, regional director of ADL Heartland, Erez Cohen, executive director of Illini Hillel and Renee Birnberg Silberman, chair of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Children of Survivors Chicago cohort.

“I’m confident that our very special panel will give families an assessment of the increase in antisemitism. They each bring a unique perspective to the table,” said Maer. “As the grandfather of five very Jewishly involved children, I hope the discussion will help families confront these challenges.  I will also ask the experts to suggest age-appropriate ways to discuss antisemitism with children.”

Maer urges parents, grandparents and all who are concerned about the current climate to join him to hopefully better understand the highly personal stakes and the sadly historic nature of this challenge.

“I hope this hour-long visit will lead to dinner table and broader community conversations about the issues we’ll discuss,” said Maer.

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