In May, BUSD celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month, lifting up and honoring the contributions of Jewish Americans in our school community, our extended communities, and our country.
A Message From Superintendent Ford Morthel:
May is a rich month of heritage celebrations which includes the upliftment of Jewish American Heritage Month. Since 2006, May has been . As is true of any community, there is no single way of being Jewish. In Berkeley Unified School District, we have a beautiful spectrum of the Jewish community represented by our students and families.
The Bay Area has an especially proud history of Jewish activism and spirituality embodying the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olamâ€“ healing the world to make it a better place for all. It is in this spirit of Tikkun Olam, that we offer these resources to our community. And it is in this spirit that we honor all the ways that people are connected to Judaism here in BUSD: through birth, adoption, marriage/partnership, conversion, through secular and religious tiesâ€“we celebrate the diversity of the Jewish community. Through these resources we also strive to center Jewish community members who are too often marginalized: and Jews, Jews of color, Disabled Jews, LGBTQ+ Jews, and young Jewish voices.
Among the resources shared, you will find first person stories and biographies of creatives representing some of the many ways that people connect to Judaism and Jewish heritage. Some members of the Jewish community are recognizable by the clothes , or symbols they wear , and others you will only know by asking and listening to their stories.
In this month of May, it is important to unequivocally state that we as a district stand firmly united against all forms of hate, which includes anti-semitism. We denounce the rise in anti-semitic rhetoric against Jewish people and are committed to teaching about the history of antisemitism and the Holocaust. We also recognize that the Jewish community is more than the stories of the discrimination against them. This month, we take time to shine a light on contemporary Jewish creatives and the resilience of the Jewish people.
In unity and Shalom,
Enikia Ford Morthel
These , organized by grade level, represent recently published books that celebrate Jewish-American heritage, affirm identity, and promote cultural awareness. Sharing these books is one part of our effort to develop a diverse consciousness with and for our youth and ensure they know they are not alone, and that they can speak out to help stop the spread of bigotry.
Click on each book to access the associated list.
This was compiled by BUSD’s Equity, Achievement, and Belong Department and BUSD Jewish community members.
“We denounce the rise in anti-semitic rhetoric against Jewish people and are committed to teaching about the history of antisemitism and the Holocaust.”Ěý Ěý -Superintendent Ford Morthel
Here are some examples about how these topics are taught in Berkeley Unified Schools
- Many teachers incorporate read alouds that affirm Jewish American identities and that uplift Jewish holidays; many teachers also invite Jewish family members to share about family traditions with their classes each year
4th grade Historical Fiction Book Clubs Unit is taught in late spring and the book is â€“ through this book, teachers teach about the Holocaust
- 6th gradeâ€“ included in a history unit about world religions, that includes learning about Judaism and Jewish beliefs and traditions.
- WWII and the Holocaust is taught in 10th grade World History
Ethnic Studies also naturally invites students to be their whole selves in the classroom and for all aspects of their identities to be valued and supported, so there are many opportunities for Jewish students to share about their culture(s), traditions, and ancestral connections to Judaism throughout their time in BUSD.
Lifting Up BUSD Staff Jewish American Voices – May 2023
In celebration of our Jewish American community, BUSD has introduced “Lifting Up Jewish American Voices,â€ť a campaign to share our Jewish American staff narratives with our students and community by creating posters featuring their stories and experiences. Later this month, these posters will be displayed around the district, on the BUSD website, in social media, and in district publications. Sharing these narratives with our students will allow them to deepen connections with Jewish American staff in BUSD.
Cragmont Elementary School, John Muir Elementary School
Longfellow Middle School
Berkeley High School
Ruth Acty Elementary School
3rd Grade Teacher
Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary, Thousand Oaks Elementary