NY assemblyman demands schools avoid company’s videos disrespectful of Jews

The cartoon clip depicts Jews as “violent religious extremists” who communicated only in Hebrew and “held themselves aloof.”

February 11, 2016 23:37
1 minute read.

School children in class. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

NEW YORK – New York Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski has demanded that schools in the state quit using educational videos produced by Study.com after two complaints about content seen as anti-Semitic or disrespectful of Jews appearing in its film clips.

The first incident came to light last week in a video shown to students at Clarkstown South High School in Rockland County, which compared what the first-century Roman Empire thought of the Jewish and Christian communities of the time.

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The cartoon clip depicts Jews as “violent religious extremists” who communicated only in Hebrew and “held themselves aloof.” It also “explains” why Judaism attracted a small number of adherents compared to Christianity and why Jews received little sympathy for their suffering at the hands of the Romans.

After strong condemnations from Jewish groups such as the Anti-Defamation league, the video was removed from the company’s website.

A second problematic video has, however, also surfaced, in the form of a lesson titled, “The Hebrews and their Beliefs.” Used at Nyack High School in Rockland County, the film portrays the Torah disrespectfully as a holy book described as: “God gives a commandment to man. Man disobeys, usually through temptation of the flesh. God punishes man.”

Zebrowski, who represents the Rockland County area, said in a statement: “I call on New York school districts to cease utilizing this resource.”

Separately, he demanded in a letter to Study.

com that they review their content for accuracy and appropriateness, and that lessons on religious subjects be “developed in a collaborative manner with input and expertise from members of the religion.

“Study.com is an educational resource website that some teachers utilize for material,” Zebrowski said. “The fact that this type of content is available on a resource website and is not being properly vetted by teachers is unacceptable.”

“Broad, inaccurate and insensitive generalizations should not be anywhere near a classroom,” Zebrowski wrote.

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