Jewish culture, history and contributions would become part of Oregon’s educational curriculum under a bill coursing through the Legislature.
It’s in response to increased incidents of antisemitism, both in Oregon and across the U.S. In recent months, antisemitic flyers and swastika graffiti have been reported in Oregon communities, including Springfield and Eugene’s South Hills area.
Oregon Rep. David Gomberg, D-Lincoln City, is the chief sponsor of House Bill 2905. It would complement existing requirements for Oregon’s schools to teach about BIPOC, LGBTQ and immigrant communities, among others.
Gomberg, a Jew himself, says his bill’s language goes further than the existing designation of “Middle Eastern” currently in state law.
“Referring to ‘Middle Eastern’ descent wasn’t making any clear definitions,” Gomberg told KLCC. “If it was, was largely discounting 2,000 years of Jewish history, culture, sacrifice and survival. As well as contributions Jewish communities have made to the history and evolution of Oregon.”
Proponents add that while state schools do teach about the Holocaust, it’s important that students learn more about the Jewish people than historical atrocities.
The bill cleared the House without opposition and now heads to the Senate.