Front Line: August 11, 2023

August 11, 2023


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August 11, 2023

Shabbat Shalom | Candle Lighting: 8:09 PM EDT

A Note from Michael Levitt

Expanding Holocaust Education in Our Schools

Holocaust education plays a crucial role in society, imparting valuable lessons on the dangers of hate and the importance of standing up against intolerance and prejudice. Unfortunately, provincial governments, that are responsible for education in Canada, have historically placed little emphasis on teaching these lessons in schools, resulting in an acute lack of awareness of the Holocaust among Canadian youth. According to a 2021 survey of North American teens by the Toronto-based Liberation75 organization, an astounding one-third of students said they don't know what to think about the Holocaust, believe the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis has been exaggerated, or question whether the Holocaust even happened.

At Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, we are inspired every day by the teachers and school boards that show a strong commitment to ensuring their students are educated on the Holocaust and its important lessons. During the school year, our workshops reach tens of thousands of students across the country. But, there's more to do and many more students to reach, which is where expanding mandated Holocaust education comes into play.

Last year, we were thrilled by the Ontario government’s announcement to officially mandate Holocaust education in elementary schools. For the upcoming school year, the Ontario Grade 6 social studies curriculum has been updated to include lessons on the Holocaust and Canada's response to it (or lack thereof), the experiences and many contributions of Jews in Canada to society and the impact of antisemitism. FSWC has commended Ontario’s Minister of Education Stephen Lecce for his ongoing support for increasing education on the Holocaust and antisemitism in schools, including after he recently engaged on the issue with his counterparts in other provinces, to whom he expressed the importance of Holocaust education and offered support.

FSWC is now examining the current state of Holocaust education in Canada, researching curriculums in each province that will inform our outreach to education ministries across the country calling for improvements in the Holocaust education students receive. At the same time, our educators have been working with Ontario teachers and preparing new professional development programs to support them as they begin teaching the new curriculum. With antisemitism and other forms of hate on the rise - made vividly clear by the latest hate crime data from Statistics Canada - it's time for all provinces and territories in this country to take a hard look at their curriculums and take the necessary steps to expand Holocaust education. It’s long overdue.

Shabbat Shalom,

Community Update. FSWC is hiring!

FSWC is currently seeking a Program and Events Lead to join our dynamic team. If you are interested in applying or know someone who you think would be a suitable candidate, check out our job posting.

Apply Here

FSWC’s inaugural Wiesenthal Campus Advocacy Fellowship for Canadian university student leaders is well underway this week, with our first group of fellows, a combination of Jewish and non-Jewish students, travelling across Israel to gain insights into the country and its people.

The jam-packed trip has included visits to Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Druze areas across the country, part of a year-long program as the students develop knowledge and skills to combat antisemitism and advocate for human rights on campus. Sights in Israel have included the Old City of Jerusalem, Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center, the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, and many other meaningful experiences.

Learn more about Fellowship

In response to Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce discussing the importance of mandatory Holocaust education at the Council of Ministers of Education, FSWC commended the minister for his steadfast support and engagement on the issue. This comes after the Ontario Ministry of Education’s recent update of the Grade 6 social studies curriculum, which now includes lessons on Canada’s response to the Holocaust, the experiences and contributions of the country’s Jewish communities and the impact of antisemitism.

FSWC is currently performing a deep dive into the current state of Holocaust education in Canada, researching curriculums in each province that will inform our outreach to provincial ministries of education calling for mandatory Holocaust education in elementary schools.

Education Update. Bookings for 2023-2024 school workshops underway

Bookings for FSWC student programs have continued to come in over the summer, as our education department continues to revamp workshops and prepare for a busy school year ahead. If you are an educator or know any school that may like to welcome FSWC’s Holocaust and human rights education programs, please contact our education department at

Learn more about FSWC's student workshops

Spotlight on New Books

Highlighting recently published non-fiction and fiction involving subjects related to the work of FSWC

Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theories
By Mike Rothschild
Penguin Random House Canada, 310 pages

A well-researched look into the history of the antisemitic conspiracy industry around the Rothschild banking dynasty, Jewish Space Lasers examines why one family has long been a target of cranks whose maze of wild accusations evoke supposed Jewish control of the world. In their fertile imagination and paranoia, they accuse the Rothschilds of being the ultimate puppet masters, pulling strings of major institutions on a global scale, especially in the financial realm, as part of their international domination. Conspiracy theorists have denounced the family for funding both sides of every war over the past several centuries, of controlling almost every central bank, even the sinking of the Titanic and, more recently, of using their secret technology to unleash snowstorms and forest fires. These and many other groundless, often bizarre, accusations would be almost comical if so many people didn’t actually believe such nonsense.

The author, Mike Rothschild, no relation to the book’s subject, is a journalist and conspiracy expert. Separating myth from reality, he documents the time-honoured hoaxes and ire directed at the Rothschilds and, in the process, shows how conspiracy theories – frequently targeting Jews – take form, spread and metastasize. The book’s title is derived from a 2018 social media post by US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene who suggested that wildfires in California were caused by a laser from space, possibly controlled by the Rothschild bank. Previous to this new book, Rothschild wrote The Storm Is Upon Us, a bestselling account of the American right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory and political movement.


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