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Texas teacher reportedly fired after reading from Anne Frank’s diary to students

(JTA) – A middle school teacher in a district outside Houston, Texas, has been fired reportedly for reading a sexual passage from Anne Frank’s diary out loud to eighth-grade students, the district told local news. 

The passage came from a 2018 graphic version of the diary by the world-famous Jewish Holocaust victim that restored some portions of the initial book that had been cut from the most well-known editions. 

“Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” has also been at the center of several other recent book-related controversies in public schools: It was briefly pulled from another Texas district, permanently removed from a Florida district and has spent several months under review at another Florida district; a Republican Jewish lawmaker in Florida has called it “Anne Frank pornography.”

“A version of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ book that was not approved by the district was read in class,” Mike Canizales, a spokesperson for Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District, told a local news channel. The teacher was sent home last week and replaced by a substitute, and “there is an active investigation,” Canizales continued.

The graphic version of Frank’s diary was reportedly on a reading list the school sent out to parents at the start of the school year, though district officials claimed it had never been approved for classroom use. The fired teacher had read portions of the diary aloud in class, in addition to assigning it for students to read.

In the book, adapted by Ari Folman and David Polonsky, a passage dated March 24, 1944, depicts Anne describing male and female genitalia, including descriptions of “the clitoris” and pubic hair. The words are really Anne’s own, and appear in her initial handwritten draft of the diary. The passage comes immediately after a passage describing “the sound of gunfire” as Nazi soldiers attacked Allied forces parachuting out of a crashing plane.

“It’s bad enough she’s having them read this for an assignment, but then she also is making them read it aloud and making a little girl talk about feeling each other’s breasts and when she sees a female she goes into ecstasy, that’s not OK,” a parent of twin boys in the class told local news. The parent was referring to another passage from the book, in which Anne briefly describes her latent feelings toward another girl, that some conservative parents and activists say they find objectionable.

The day before the district fired the teacher, it alerted parents that “inappropriate” content had been read aloud in class. “The reading of that content will cease immediately. Your student’s teacher will communicate her apologies to you and your students soon, as she has expressed those apologies to us,” the district wrote in an email.

The Anne Frank Fonds, the Switzerland-based foundation that oversees the copyright to Frank’s diary and authorized the new graphic adaptation, has defended the work in the past. “We consider the book of a 12-year-old girl to be appropriate reading for her peers,” board member Yves Kugelmann has told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Jewish books including “Anne Frank’s Diary,” “Maus” and “The Fixer” have become frequently ensnared in a broader, conservative-led effort to purge schools of material that activists deem inappropriate, largely for content involving sexuality, gender identity and race. Teachers are increasingly facing censures and firings for including controversial books, including by race writer Ta-Nahisi Coates, in class.


The post Texas teacher reportedly fired after reading from Anne Frank’s diary to students appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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‘The mobs will not silence my voice’ says Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman after her Thornhill office is plastered with anti-Israel posters

Posters slamming Israel and decrying Canada’s suspension of funding to UNRWA were found at the Thornhill, Ont., offices of Melissa Lantsman, a pro-Israel and Jewish Conservative MP who serves as deputy leader of the Official Opposition.   “Blood on Your Hands,” “Stop Arming Israel” and “Fund UNRWA Now” were among the messages found taped to […]

The post ‘The mobs will not silence my voice’ says Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman after her Thornhill office is plastered with anti-Israel posters appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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IDF Chief Weighs in on Ultra-Orthodox Military Service, Week After New Draft Bill Proposed

FILE PHOTO: Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks during his transition ceremony with the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, and the outgoing chief, in Jerusalem, January 16, 2023. Maya Alleruzzo/Pool via REUTERS

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi called on the ultra-Orthodox public to mobilize for the current and future wars, a position at odds with their historic role in the state, in which they enjoy near blanket exemptions from military service.

“In these challenging days, there is one thing that is very clear: Everyone should mobilize for the defense of the homeland,” Halevi said.

He added: “This is a different era, and what was before it will certainly be re-examined. The IDF has always sought to bring into its ranks from all sections of Israeli society. This war illustrates the need to change. Join the service, protect the homeland. We have a historic opportunity to expand the sources of recruitment for the IDF at a time when the necessity is very high. We will know how to create the right solutions and conditions for any population that will join this noble mission.”

The issue of ultra-Orthodox enlistment in the IDF has been a hot button issue since the state’s establishment in 1948 and, in more recent years, the cause of wide scale backlash against the community. As part of an agreement when the state was founded, the ultra-Orthodox public was exempted completely from service. However, as the years progressed and the population grew exponentially, critics of the policy decried the unfairness of it.

A bill last week was introduced by the ruling Likud Party that called for an increase in military service time, particularly for reserve forces, yet failed to discuss the ultra-Orthodox issue. Backlash from both opposition and coalition members was swift.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at the time said, “The ultra-Orthodox public is dear and loved and contributes a lot to the State of Israel, and it is now essential that it also take a more significant part in the tasks of defense and security. This move should happen out of dialogue and discussion and not by coercion or, God forbid, by defamation. Religious Zionism proves that it is possible to combine Torah study and observance of minor and severe mitzvot together with military service at the front. My ultra-Orthodox brothers, we need you!”

Halevi’s comments were his first on the highly contentious issue.

The post IDF Chief Weighs in on Ultra-Orthodox Military Service, Week After New Draft Bill Proposed first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks present their case to the International Criminal Court, hoping for arrest warrants against Hamas

A legal brief documenting the kidnapping, rape, torture and executions of Israelis who are being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza has been filed at the International Criminal Court by the Canadian-based Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. The 1,000-page dossier documents the brutality of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, which killed […]

The post Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks present their case to the International Criminal Court, hoping for arrest warrants against Hamas appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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