Shameful school prank targets Jews, teaches valuable lesson

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you’re probably aware of the “Hit A Jew Day” incident that occurred a couple of weeks ago at a Parkway middle school and sparked an ongoing heated emotional discussion within the Jewish and general communities.

Whether this unfortunate act of ignorance was meant as an innocent prank or a religious attack, the Anti-Defamation League took it seriously and so did the local and national media, which wasted no time reporting the controversial event.

Even as anti-Semitism is supposedly on the rise during difficult economic times, this widespread concern about a group of sixth graders singling out Jewish students during an unofficial “Spirit Week” represents the growing acceptance of zero tolerance in our society.

The instigators were suspended, and some who knew what was going on and didn’t report the problem to administrators were reprimanded as well. This blatant insult to Jewish students wasn’t ignored. Everyone learned a critical lesson, hopefully.

For parents, the idea of “Hit A Jew Day” rattles our very core. We have a responsibility to teach our adolescents why a day proclaimed to “Hit A Jew” or “Hit a Christian” or “Hit a Gay,” etc., is flat-out wrong. Any kind of violent behavior or discrimination against any group — tall people, fat people, Muslim, African American — is unacceptable. Period. Adults need to remind children how bullying hurts everyone and that being a good citizen is what matters most in a diverse and multi-cultural world.

History proves that discrimination, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and prejudice can have dire consequences, which is why parents and schools are obligated to teach age-appropriate students the facts about the Holocaust. In addition to approximately six million European Jews being exterminated during World War II, millions more Romas, Soviets, Poles, handicapped persons, gay men, and political and religious opponents of the Nazi regime were murdered in concentration camps.

The St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center (HMLC), located at 12 Millstone Campus Drive, is considered one of the finest resources of its kind in the United States and a powerful way to introduce youngsters to the atrocities that took place under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. The HMLC houses a collection of artifacts, exhibits, and photographs (some horrific and graphic in nature) that document pre-war Jewish life in Europe, the rise of Nazism, the events of the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945, the Nuremberg Trials, and finally Jewish life after the Holocaust.

The HMLC strives to educate all people about the history and consequences of the Holocaust in hope of preventing such events from happening again.

On Nov. 9, which is the anniversary of Kristallnacht or “Night of Broken Glass,” the HMLC will offer a lecture entitled Violence Unleashed: The Meaning of Kristallnacht given by Dr. Warren Rosenblum, Associate Professor, Department of History, Politics and International Relations, at Webster University. Rosenblum also will discuss the Third Reich and the Final Solution.

For more information on programs and tours at HMLC, call 314 432-0020.

“Mishegas of Motherhood” is the creation of Ellie S. Grossman, a St. Louis freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom who never stays home. Feel free to send any comments to: [email protected] or visit her website at