On the morning of October 27, at Sabbath services—the holy day of the week for the Jewish community—Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and yelled “All Jews must die,” then opened fire upon the congregants. He was armed with an assault rifle and several handguns and killed eleven congregants and wounded six others, four of whom are police officers. When surrendering to law enforcement, Bowers told an officer that he “wanted all Jews to die” and that Jews “were committing genocide against his people.” This shooting is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the U.S.
Our world is changing, our understanding of truths are being challenged, and that makes our job as educators more important than ever before. Fostering an understanding of what it means to be a global citizen, engage in civic discussions, and understand other cultures is of the utmost importance. As a history teachers we are acutely aware that human memory is fragile, and the records of the past can be destroyed or distorted. Without an understanding of the past, students have nothing with which to judge what they are told in the present. The truth then becomes the narrative of the ruler or government often distorted and anchoring a single agenda. Our increasingly pluralistic society has ushered in the urgent need for more focus in our classrooms that support and foster an understanding of cultural and racial differences. The unpleasant and divisive language used by many to vilify and denounce various groups within society suggests that the development of this important capacity is urgently required.
Suggested Technology: Projector, Laptops for Students, Internet Connection.
Instructional Time: 5 hours.