Senators introduce bill to pay for Holocaust education programs in schools

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bipartisan slate of senators introduced a bill that would fund Holocaust education in schools.

The Never Again Education Act would establish the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund in the U.S. Treasury. The bill would combine appropriated funds and private donations.

A release Thursday from the office of Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., one of the lead sponsors, said the bill would “finance grants to public and private middle and high schools to help teachers develop and improve Holocaust education programs.”

“There is overwhelming evidence that anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States and across the globe,” Rosen, who is Jewish, said in the release. “In order to ensure that an event like the Holocaust never again occurs, we must take concrete steps to address this growing epidemic of hate, and that begins through education and understanding of one of the most horrific chapters in history.

The other lead sponsors are Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives has 204 co-sponsors led by two New York representatives, Democrat Carolyn Maloney and Republican Elise Stefanik.

Hadassah led the effort among Jewish groups to garner sponsors for the bill, with CEO Janice Weinman calling it “urgent.”

“Students — and sometimes teachers and administrators, too — are painfully unaware of the Holocaust,” she said. “We must address this because Holocaust education programs are important at reducing extremism, hate and bigotry against all people.”