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Tree of Life Inc. to get $1 million in federal funds for antisemitism curriculum

The organization originating from the 2018 mass shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue will work to educate K-12 students about hate.

A makeshift shrine to the victims of the mass shooting at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Credit: Brendt A. Petersen.
A makeshift shrine to the victims of the mass shooting at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Credit: Brendt A. Petersen.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) succeeded in placing an earmark in the government funding legislation to provide $1 million to create what he described as enabling thousands of students to receive “the tools to disrupt hate.”

The Senate voted 74-24 at 2 a.m. on March 23 in favor of a federal spending bill that included funding to create a school curriculum to educate children and teens about discrimination and bigotry.

Tree of Life Inc. will receive the monies to develop the program’s content.

The organization emerged after the Oct. 27, 2018 shooting that left 11 Jewish worshippers, most of them elderly, dead at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Tree of Life Inc. will create a curriculum for K-12 students to teach how to identify and challenge antisemitism, in addition to other forms of identity-based bigotry.

All of Pennsylvania’s senators and congresspersons voted for the spending bill, save for one—Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.) a member of the progressive “Squad” in the U.S. House of Representatives who objected to the bill’s $3 billion in support for Israel.

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