‘Blatant antisemitism’ – NJ high school yearbook erases Jewish club

Jewish community leaders demand answers after the Jewish Student Union members’ names were deleted and Muslim students replaced them in their group picture.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A New Jersey high school has come under fire for erasing a Jewish club from its 2024 yearbook in an act the town’s mayor called “blatantly antisemitic,” the New York Post reported Wednesday.

The traditional pages listing student organizations at East Brunswick High School had an obvious gap when it came to the Jewish Student Union – the paragraph with all the members’ names was missing. Moreover, the group photo had been replaced with one of obviously Muslim students.

Teachers always oversee the seniors’ compilation of this important high school memento, and the Jewish Federation Heart of New Jersey said it wants both the school and Board of Education “to hold the people who are responsible accountable.”

Town Mayor Brad Cohen agreed.

“Hate has no place in East Brunswick and antisemitism will not be tolerated,” he said when the matter was brought to his attention.

Those responsible for the “blatant antisemitic act” could be slapped with hate crime charges, he added.

Leaders of the East Brunswick Jewish Center told the Post that the entire Jewish community was “very upset by what happened.”

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“We stand with the mayor’s office and our fellow synagogues in demanding a response from the district,” said one, Christine Mahler. “We don’t want to pre-emptively pass judgment, but we need answers.”

While saying the district was investigating the incident, East Brunswick Superintendent of Schools Victor Valeski downplayed the deed, calling it an “error.”

“We deeply apologize for this error and the disappointment it has caused,” Valeski wrote in an email to the community. “Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work expeditiously to rectify this situation.”

Yearbook faculty adviser Brittany VanDyke also blamed the deletion and switch on simple human error.

In a letter she sent to club members, she called it a “mistake not caught in editing and printed unintentionally,” and said the school was “working hard to rectify this situation immediately.”

One Jewish Student Union senior told the New York daily that her group was “shocked and disturbed” when they saw they were missing from their eagerly awaited yearbooks.

“It feels like they were trying to take our identity away from us,” she said.

The school should dismiss or at least reprimand any teacher found to be involved, she added, and take away prom or graduation privileges from the responsible students.

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