The Ninth Candle: A radical new approach to antisemitism

In September 2020, a 50-state survey asked people aged 18-to-39 what they knew about the Holocaust. One in eight did not know what it was; nearly a quarter thought it was exaggerated, or even a myth; and nearly half could not name a single Nazi camp or ghetto.

critical gaps both in awareness of basic facts as well as detailed knowledge

None of this is surprising. There are 35 states that do not require the Holocaust to be studied in schools. Even in the 15 states that do have requirements, the curricula often leave students with “critical gaps both in awareness of basic facts as well as detailed knowledge.”

Meanwhile, as our memory of the Holocaust dwindles, Jewish people are becoming one of the country’s most discriminated-against groups. Even the broadest estimates say that Jewish people make up less than 4% of the American population, but more than a third of them have experienced abuse or attacks in the last five years. This type of discrimination is called antisemitism. Last year, over 2,000 antisemitic incidents were recorded across America – a 12% increase on 2018. Of them, nearly 500 were in K-12 schools, and nearly 200 were in colleges or universities. Over 250 were in private businesses.

The ongoing failure of Holocaust education, coupled with the steep, continual rise in antisemitism, is proof that America’s existing ways of addressing antisemitism are not working.

Commentators have described the situation as a crisis.

A radical new approach is needed. One suited to the needs and demands of the 21st century. One rooted not in a will to fight, but in a wish to share knowledge. One that focuses on the most effective tool against all forms of discrimination: education.

The Ninth Candle is that radical new approach.

We are a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Chicago, Illinois. Our mission is to end antisemitism by sharing knowledge. We will offer free professional development programs to educators, and affordable diversity & inclusion training programs to businesses, across America.

The full version of our website will launch in November 2020.