Addressing a lack of education
December 19, 2022
Rendleman traces the ignorance surrounding Judaism to a lack of education about non-Christian religions in schools, a sentiment expressed by many Jewish students. Kushins grew up in Duluth, Georgia before moving to Edina during middle school. “Contrary to what people usually think about [Georgia] being down in the south, it was a lot more inclusive,” she said. “I had much more diverse friends, and I learned about other religions when I was in third grade. Here, we didn’t learn about them until eighth grade. I feel like if we were more inclusive of religions in school, maybe learning about them, [or] maybe having more of them off than just Christian holidays, people would be more willing to talk about them,” Kushins said. Atar had a similar experience; she did not learn about non-Christian holidays at her elementary school in Edina. Instead, her Hebrew school provided this education.
Kampf has experienced intolerance at EHS that stems from a lack of education. “I certainly think there’s ignorance [about Judaism] and that that ignorance leads to feelings of being not included, whether it’s people being unaware of why I’m absent on a particular day, or having food at a staff meeting that I wouldn’t be able to eat,” she said.
Likewise, Rendleman traced ignorance about Judaism to antisemitism that has occurred in the community. “I think a majority of [antisemitic] incidents that have occurred have been due to two things. One of them is parents’ beliefs and kids just picking up on them…Another part of it is just general ignorance,” Rendleman said. “People say and do things that they don’t even realize are offensive or hurtful or discriminatory. So, I think that’s where the education piece comes into play.”