Support our work at home and abroad
The Federation of New Hampshire is proud to stand with the community against all voices of hate whether spoken, shared on social media or incidents of antisemitism. We will not be silent to these discraceful acts. Recently, we released a statement condemning Representative Dawn Johnson for her insensitve act of sharing an antisemitic cartoon. This can not and should not be tolerated by anyone let alone an elected official. And unfortunately, a few days later, we were informed that the Menorah on the Dartmouth campus was vandalized. These atrocious acts of hate and antisemitsm are unacceptable.
Statement from the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire in response to the Dartmouth campus Menorah incident
In a time when the world needs light, and during a holiday that celebrates the dispelling of darkness, we are deeply disturbed and to hear of the recent vandalism of the Chabad menorah at Dartmouth College. It appears that bullets from a pellet gun broke seven out of the nine lights on the campus menorah. We join with Rabbi Moshe Grey and Dartmouth College President Phillip J. Hanlon in their forceful statements, reproduced below, against this antisemitic and hateful act. Racial, ethnic, and religious intolerance have no place in a democratic society.
The Federation recently sent a letter to members of the State Senate in opposition to Bill 544.
Senator Gary Daniels, Chairperson
Senate Finance Committee
Re: Chapter 10-C of HB 2, Propagation of Divisive Concepts Prohibited (formerly, HB 544)
Dear Chairperson Daniels:
The Jewish Federation of New Hampshire strongly opposes Chapter 10-C of HB 2, Propagation of Divisive Concepts Prohibited (formerly, HB 544) and urges you to reject it in its entirety.
Schools have an essential role in teaching students how to examine important societal issues and engage in appropriate civil discourse and political expression. Indeed, the Supreme Court of the United States has on more than one occasion recognized the importance of schools in protecting the ability of students and teachers to engage in open and robust discussion about issues that affect our democracy. It is within our schools that our youth are taught the skills with which to engage in civil discussion about complex societal issues and ready themselves to participate in a positive and constructive way in the democratic process. That schools are educating the young for citizenship is reason to ensure that free and open discussion is fostered and encouraged.
Aspects of Chapter 10-C (such as the paragraph prohibiting teaching that one race is inherently superior to another race) may be cited by supporters of the proposed legislation as evidence that the statute is well-intentioned. Other provisions, however (such as the one that defines as “divisive” discussion about whether the United States is “fundamentally racist” and the one that casts as “divisive” the idea that citizens “bea[r] responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race”) will have a chilling effect on the ability of teachers to engage students in healthy and uncensored conversation about racism and intolerance in the United States, the lingering effects of colonization, slavery, segregation, and oppression, and the role of citizens with respect to societal inequities. In this regard, the proposed statute appears completely at odds with the stated findings and purposes of An Act Relative to Holocaust and Genocide Studies Legislation, enacted in July 2020. It is worthwhile to remember what the General Court said when it passed that act:
Recognizing that democratic institutions and values are not automatically sustained, but need active civic responsibility and engagement, the general court finds that it is necessary, as part of an adequate education, to ensure that students are taught the historical facts about the Holocaust and other genocides and how intolerance, bigotry, antisemitism, and national, ethnic, racial, and religious hatred and discrimination have evolved in the past, and can evolve, into genocide and mass violence. The general court further finds that through education about the Holocaust and other forms of genocide, their causes, the consequences of intolerance, bigotry, antisemitism, and hate, and the lessons to be drawn for the present, students will understand the fragility of democracy, the importance of democratic principles, and the power of individual choices in preventing genocide.
The sentiments expressed in these findings and purposes apply with equal force in this context.
Many businesses believe that the proposed statute will have a similar chilling effect on their ongoing efforts to create diverse and inclusive work environments.
It is unsurprising therefore that so many well-respected organizations –organizations as diverse as the New Hampshire Institute for Civics Education, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility, The Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, The Black Heritage Trail, the Manchester NAACP, Dartmouth College, and the New Hampshire Council of Churches, to name just a few –- have spoken against the proposed legislation.
We urge you to reject Chapter 10-C of HB 2, Propagation of Divisive Concepts Prohibited, in its entirety.
Elyse Hyman Dr. Sarit Itenberg
cc: Senator John Reagan, Vice Chairperson, Senator Lou D'Allesandro, Senator Bob Giuda, Senator Erin Hennessey, Senator Chuck Morse, Senator Cindy Rosenwald
The Federation of New Hampshire and Temple B'nai Israel of Laconia Joint Statement. To read the full statement, please click here.
Statement on the threat to American Democracy. . To read the full statement, click here.