“International bankers from New York,” “It’s all about the Benjamins,” and other similar statements are illusions to Jews and taken by many to be anti-Semitic tropes. Many are of the opinion that these “dog whistles” justify and, in fact, incite anti-Semitism.
Since its founding over 25 years ago, Rambam Mesivta has dedicated itself to educational excellence and social activism. The school has held multiple rallies on various topics, with the first rally being in 1995, in Norwood, Massachusetts, to protest the presence of Alexandras Liliekas, a Nazi war criminal involved in the murder of thousands of Jews in the forest outside the city of Vilna.
The school has also held rallies protesting French anti-Semitism, Saudi support of terror, the legitimization of Hamas, anti-Israel bias found in the United Nations, and other Jewish causes.
Additionally, responding to issues in the community at large, they helped raise funds for victims of the Tsunami and offered support to the families and victims of Parkland.
Learning about the issues surrounding the history curriculum in Newton High School, Rambam students investigated further and were distressed to find that, in fact, there were strong allegations of a skewed view of Hamas being presented to students who attend those schools. Most notably, students who were being taught the Hamas charter were not made aware that the charter specifically calls for the killing of Jews.
Article Seven of the Hamas charter, which is expunged from the textbooks in Newton, states, “Islamic resistance movement looks forward to fulfill the promise of Allah no matter how long it takes, because the prophet of Allah says, The day of judgment will not come until the Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims kill the Jews, and until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or tree and a stone or a tree would say, Muslim or servant of Allah there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.”
Students under the leadership of Rabbi Zev Friedman, Rambam’s Dean, decided to speak out against this half-truth and lack of transparency. Rabbi Friedman stated, “Expunging some of Hamas’s murderous intentions from the charter and hiding from the students conveys the notion to impressionable students that Hamas is not a terrorist group, but rather a social and political organization that pines for peace in the Middle East. It is clear from reading their charter that they are engaged in a religious war against all infidels (Jews and Christians alike) and hope to occupy Israel, questing to live under the banner of Islam exclusively. If students in Newton were aware of this, they would have a different view of Hamas. It is important that they be taught the entire charter and let them decide for themselves how to view ISIS, Hamas, and those who seek the destruction of Western type democracies.”
To help shine the light on this issue, a busload of students made a four-hour trek from New York to Newton South High School and held signs that portray the inaccuracies and half-truths of the Newton curriculum. The rally was generously sponsored by the Hofstetter family.
Hearing from many that students in school were actually intimidated by the anti-Israel bias, the Rambam students chanted in unison, “Educate, don’t intimidate.” Drawing support from over a dozen members of the local community who thanked the students for coming and speaking out, the Rambam students stayed for about an hour and continued to chant, “Teach the truth” and “Speak out against hate.”
The boys from Rambam departed back to New York after having left a mark on the Newton community.
Following the rally, Rabbi Friedman sent an invitation to Mr. Stembridge and the entire Newton Board of Education.
Two weeks have elapsed and there has not been a response. The letter is copied below.