© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Oregon bill aims to counter antisemitism by educating students about Jewish culture

 An ornamental Star of David hangs from a tree branch.
David Holifield
An ornamental Star of David hangs from a tree branch.

Jewish culture, history, and contributions would become part of Oregon’s educational curriculum, under a bill moving through the legislature 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.

A Jew himself, Gomberg 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.

Copyright 2023 KLCC. To see more, visit KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. He is a 20-year reporter who has worked at NPR, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including three Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award in 2012.