January 27th, 2023
As an educational system, we have a responsibility to learn about the lived realities of systematically harmed communities. With this in mind, the WRDSB is committed to learning about the lived experiences, realities and harm faced by the Jewish community.
In the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB), we look forward to building strong, ongoing relationships with the local Jewish community as we work towards amplifying Jewish heritage, addressing negative stereotypes and tackling antisemitism in our own schools. Our schools should be spaces where everyone who is part of the WRDSB feels that they belong, are included and are celebrated for who they are.
Holocaust Remembrance Day
Friday, January 27 is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, is one of the darkest moments in human history. From 1933-1945, the Nazi Germany regime was responsible for the systematic, state-sponsored, persecution and mass murder of six million Jewish People and 5 million non-Jewish people because they were classified by the regime as racially or biologically inferior. This included Roma and Sinti People, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, Slavic Peoples, and Afro-descendant Europeans.
As we work towards a deeper understanding of systemic oppression, learning about the Holocaust presents an opportunity to develop an understanding of how systems and policies can lead to discrimination and genocide, and impact a community for future generations. Equally, as we bear witness to antisemitism or anti-Jewish hate in Waterloo Region and the wider community, learning about the Holocaust creates a space to grow in allyship with the Jewish community, learn from their resilience and work collectively against harmful ideologies.
WRDSB educators have a variety of educational resources in both English and French to support them in discussing the Holocaust with students. Please note that we have not recommended that educators teach this subject matter to students below Grade 6, based on guidance from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In Conversation | Rabbi Moshe Goldman
For last year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the WRDSB Indigenous, Equity and Human Rights Department had the distinct pleasure of sitting in conversation and learning from Rabbi Moshe Goldman. Through our discussion, we learned Rabbi Goldman’s personal history as the descendant of a Holocaust Survivor, about the resilience of survivors, the misconceptions about the Jewish faith, and his hope for our Jewish students and staff. This message is still relevant and resonant one year later. We have chosen to share it again.
About Rabbi Moshe Goldman
Rabbi Moshe Goldman was born and raised in New York, and studied in Yeshivas in New York, Israel, Montreal and Moscow, culminating with his graduation from the Rabbinical College of America in 2005. In addition, he has traveled on Chabad tours of duty in Sweden, Israel, and various cities throughout the USA, leading holiday events, youth programming and general community activism. He has taught at the Yeshiva of New Haven, Connecticut, and was formerly an online Rabbinic authority for “Ask the Rabbi” at www.Chabad.org. He serves as the Jewish chaplain to both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, as well as Grand River Hospital.
Together with his partner, Mrs. Rivky Goldman and their children, Rabbi Goldman moved to Waterloo and founded The Rohr Chabad Centre for Jewish Life in December of 2008, during the week of mourning for the victims of the terrorist attack at Chabad in Mumbai, India.
Use the following information to easily navigate our conversation with Rabbi Moshe Goldman:
- 06:52 – Rabbi Goldman shares about his youth and growing up in the Chabad community in New York
- 09:45 – Rebuilding of the Jewish Community post-Holocaust and its relationship to service
- 13:20 – Rabbi Goldman shares about moving to Waterloo Region and working in relationship with the school board to increase understanding of Judaism
- 16:07 – “This is my grandfathe’s story”- Rabbi Goldman tells the story of his paternal grandfather, a Holocaust Survivor
- 18:05 – “Judaism did not begin with the Holocaust.” Jewish identity can be informed by the Holocaust but it should not be defined by it.
- 26:36 – How do we tackle antisemitism? Rabbi Goldman asks us to start with who we know
- 31:43 – Rabbi Goldman speaks on critical discourse, challenging assumptions and fighting hate
- 35:57 – Rabbi Goldman’s message for Holocaust Remembrance Day and the need for moral absolutes in just society
- 40:50 – Rabbi Goldman asks us to consider A Moment of Silence and the value of reflection
- 43:20 – Centering the narrative of triumph and resilience of the Jewish People as we remember the Holocaust
We thank Rabbi Goldman for taking the time to teach and expand our own understanding of Jewish identity and faith. Equity is a call to action. There can be no inclusion without listening to historically excluded voices, learning the roots of oppression and working collectively to end hate and discrimination. The words shared by Rabbi Goldman remind us all that we all have the ability to transform the world around us. Equitable, inclusive and safe school communities depend on all of us and the choices we can make to protect the most marginalised among us.