Jewish Heritage Committee

A dual affiliate of the UFT and the Jewish Labor Committee – we are the latter’s Educators Chapter – the objective of the Jewish Heritage Committee is to enhance the understanding among all educators of the role of the Jewish community in New York City. We pursue this objective through various cultural activities, professional development workshops and interactions with the Jewish community. Our ultimate goal is to serve as a bridge linking the labor movement and the organized Jewish community in our joint effort to develop and strengthen a society based on economic and social justice for all.

We host many events at which we hope our colleagues of all faiths, cultures, and ethnicities will join us. Among these are our popular annual Purim party for children and parents in February and Labor Seder in April; frequent tours of museums and historic synagogues like the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Eldridge Street Synagogue; walking tours of historic Jewish neighborhoods such as Manhattan’s Lower East Side; an annual gala fundraiser to raise funds for the Jewish Labor Committee; and annual themed Jewish heritage events focusing on Jewish cultures from distinct areas of the world such as India, Ireland, Greece, and Uzbekistan.

We have also hosted a number of speakers on issues of concern to the Jewish community. Ehud Barrack, the former Prime Minister of Israel, has discussed Middle East politics with us and the UFT’s own Jim Callaghan gave a memorable presentation on two famous Irishmen, one a supporter of the creation of the state of Israel and the other a virulently anti-Semitic Nazi collaborator, Paul O’Dwyer and Henry Ford. We have also screened films that touch on relevant issues and have invited Jewish comedians and vaudeville acts to perform for us.

Our members are also welcome to attend the Jewish Labor Committee’s annual dinner and other events. We encourage you to consider joining the JLC as a dues-paying member to supplement your membership in the Jewish Heritage Committee.

Together with the AFT, JLC, and the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, our committee is a proud sponsor of the Holocaust Fellowship for junior high and high school teachers of English and social studies. The fellowship provides for these educators to travel to Israel, Poland and Germany for three weeks of study and reflection on the Holocaust; the trip’s purpose is to encourage tolerance so that such an atrocity will never happen again.

The committee’s executive board meets in open session every month after the UFT Delegate Assembly; all union members are invited to join the committee and encouraged to attend our meetings. Non-UFTers, including university employees and members of unions affiliated with the New York City Central Labor Council, NYSUT, AFT, or AFL-CIO may serve as associate members of the committee.

In the News
  • This year's Passover Seder organized by the UFT Jewish Heritage Committee also included a tribute to Denise Koster-Lombardo, a UFT staff member who...
  • “May the light of these candles not only bring light to our own places of darkness, but also shed light on the darkness of economic injustice.”
  • After an in-depth study of the Holocaust, 10th-graders at the HS of Art and Design poured their hearts out to Elie Wiesel in letters. Their words so...
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All UFT members are eligible to join. Non-UFT personnel, including university employees and union members affiliated with the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, NYSUT, or AFT, may serve as associate members.

Photo Gallery
Keith Koster (left) and Rita Gelacke of PS 48 on Staten Island enjoy the Seder w
Jewish Heritage Committee Labor Seder 2019

Nearly 80 UFT members and guests came to 52 Broadway on April 9 to celebrate Passover and recognize the holiday’s connection to labor activism and social justice. There was singing, food and a special tribute to Denise Koster, a UFT staff member who was an integral part of the annual Seder before her passing this year.

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