Several weeks ago, I reported about an incident in Midwood High School that shocked students, staff, community members and Jewish community leaders from the National Council of Young Israel, the Coalition of Jewish Values, JCCWatch, American For A Safe Israel, the Zionist Organization of America, the Jewish Defense League, NY, and multiple organizations.
According to published reports by the Clarion Project, students disrupted classes to display Palestinian garb and flags in support of protests on the Gaza border. This incident occurred only weeks after a school in Manhattan, Beacon High School, honored Hamas.
Many of you from around the world spent time to personally write to me. Some offered support to help me fight this vile anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic trend. All, except ONE letter. Several weeks after the article was published, one woman wrote to tell me of an experience she had sharing the article.
That letter seemed strange to me for two reasons. One concern was its timing, later than all of the other correspondence. The other was the content of the letter. My follower was told the story was "fake news" and told to retract the story. The person, a "proud Zionst" was somewhat attacked for sharing the story.
Meet Marcia Kaufman
Turns out, the person who called the story "fake news" was Midwood High School teacher, Marcia Kaufman. Kaufman is more than just a teacher. Kaufman is an alumni, class of 1961, a staff member for over 40 years and a Coordinator of Student Affairs.
According to Midwood High School Brooklyn College's publication, The Argus, the Muslim Student Association got a fresh start with the help of faculty member Ms. Marcia Kaufman in December, 2014.
“This club corrects many of the common misconceptions that individuals have about Islam. I encourage everyone to join. All faiths welcome,” said Shahzeib Cheema ‘16, “Since coming to MSA, I have learned a lot more about Islam and how it connects to the world.”
The Muslim Student Association is far more than an innocuous educational group. Its initial ties are with the Muslim Brotherhood and it has been associated with radical groups across college campuses.
Coincidentally, Ms. Kaufman is also a leader of the Jewish Student Union. The Jewish Student Union is a program of National Council of Student Youth, which is an agency of the Orthodox Union. Its goal is to provide Jewish students in public schools a place to strengthen their Jewish identity and connection to Israel.
So far, they are silent on this issue..
We are seeking a response from Ms. Kaufman.
The NYCDOE Response
Multiple letters were sent to leaders of the schools, the New York City Department of Education and elected government officials in New York City. Letters were sent to the leaders of the groups mentioned above citing the encouragement of students to speak up and be activists.
Sarri Singer, an American victim of a Hamas terror attack, and founder of Strength to Strength has reached out to both schools to extend an invitation to her and other victims.
I will continue to follow breaking developments and share with you as they unfold.
Education is a nonpartisan issue that needs bipartisan support.
Cindy Grosz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.