FSWC Reaches Out to Toronto School Following Reports of Antisemitic Play

October 26, 2018

Media Statement

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Toronto (October 26, 2018) - International human rights organization, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is in conversation with staff and parents of students at Bishop Strachan School in Toronto following reports that students at the school were not adequately prepared for antisemitic content expressed in a satirical adaptation of "The Merchant of Venice."

According to a CTV report, students were "expected to yell ‘Hallelujah’ in response to the actor onstage shouting antisemitic statements such as ‘Burn their Synagogues,’ ‘Take away their holy books,’ and ‘Burn the Jews’ to mimic how Hitler brainwashed youth before the Holocaust.”

"We have experts who educate over 1000 students per week about the Holocaust and antisemitism. We are often called in by schools to prep students for case studies in understanding the Holocaust and antisemitism to contextualize the tragedy. Satirical content and simulation of speech, if true in this case, is never permitted in our programs, and we strongly discourage educators from applying this method of pedagogy," said FSWC President and CEO Avi Benlolo.

FSWC has spoken with the school and parents about the issue as well as offered workshops and the Tour for Humanity to counteract the damage. We hope the school will apologize to its student body, parents and the Jewish community at large.

Media Contact:

Avital Borisovsky
Communications Associate
416.864.9735 x 29