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Utah rabbi says Holocaust education resolution is 'justified and necessary' as denial increase

03/05/2021 06:52:42 AM

Mar5

Lauren Bennett, KSL.com

Liz Nielson was walking her dog in the Holladay area when she noticed a group of teenage boys abruptly drive away as she approached the sidewalk.

While she thought it was odd, she didn't think much more of it. That was until she saw anti-Semitic rhetoric and symbols drawn in the snow outside.

"I just wish they knew the history behind that symbol and those words; and if they thought that was funny, that someone can educate them on what it means and what it means especially to the Jewish people in our community," Nielson said.

For Rabbi Samuel Spector of the Kol Ami congregation, the incident illustrates why a recent resolution on Holocaust education signed by Gov. Spencer Cox last week is needed in the state.

"I don't know if they intended to be malicious or not, but all they did was prove how necessary this resolution is," Rabbi Spector told KSL.com. "What they did was basically send a message that this resolution is justified and necessary and that we need to do a better job educating our youth."

The resolution highlights the importance of Holocaust and genocide education so students understand the event that took the lives of 6 million Jewish people. It encourages the Utah State Board of Education and other local education leaders to emphasize the importance of learning about the Holocaust.

"These things have gone on for years, but it certainly has gotten worse," said Patrice Arent, who previously served for 20 years in the Utah State Legislature. While still in office, Arent drafted the resolution late in the session last year. Lawmakers ran out of time to adopt it before the session ended.

"It is essential to provide students with knowledge of the Holocaust and other genocides to help them make informed choices as citizens and to help root out despicable acts of hatred, anti-Semitism, and other forms of prejudice," the resolution reads.

The resolution doesn't serve as a mandate but instead acts as a way for Utah to show its commitment to the issue.

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Tue, April 20 2021 8 Iyyar 5781