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Direct beneficiaries per year: Hundreds of thousands of American K-12 students and hundreds of social studies teachers

Geographic areas served: Nationwide

ICS was founded by our JCRC in December 2005 as a national initiative due to growing concern about bias and inaccuracy regarding Jews, Judaism, and Israel in school textbooks.  The founders discovered that Jewish history was being inaccurately and negatively depicted and that no Jewish organization was addressing this problem. Every organization assumed that another had to be doing something about this.  Problems included:

• Jews being blamed for Jesus’ crucifixion

• Judaism being presented as a strict or violent religion contrasted with a warm and loving Christianity

• One-sided blaming of Israel for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and omission of plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries

• Judaism being presented as irrelevant or obsolete after Christianity began

Tens of millions of American students, including our future leaders and policy makers, Jewish and non-Jewish, learn about Jews, Judaism, and Israel each year through social studies textbooks. Unfortunately, students are learning inaccurate and biased information, for example, that Passover is a celebration of the killing of Egyptian firstborn.  That’s why the Institute for Curriculum Services works directly with textbook publishers to improve their textbooks’ accuracy.  Since our inception, ICS has obtained almost 2,000 concrete corrections to Jewish and Israel related content in over 160 textbooks found across the country, including to the above examples.  Fixing textbooks is one part of the equation.  Educating educators is the other, which is why ICS is also committed to curriculum development and teacher training. 

This year, ICS was selected as the San Francisco Community Federation’s Program of the Year (under 2 min video here was made for the award ceremony: http://sfjcf.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/federation-program-movies/#teen) and we were recently selected for inclusion in Slingshot – a zagat-style guide to the 50 most innovative Jewish non-profits in North America (www.slingshotfund.org). 

ICS is an independently funded national initiative of the JCRC and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.  JCRC is the fiscal agent.

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ICS has been a fantastic resource for me in helping to formulate educational materials and strategies for our community about Israel. Their work is comprehensive, thoughtful, insightful, balanced, and provides a wonderful overview of how to present Israel t multiple audiences. Their staff is a ... more »
Ever since I read about ICS in the J, I've been impressed by their important work, enough so that I urged my husband that we should make a larger donation than we ever have to any organization. We did, and we've been extremely pleased by regular reports about the ongoing successes ICS has had. That ... more »
I am a JCRC director who can testify to the professionalism of the ICS staff and to their expertise in the subject areas. They did a terrific job in our State, reviewing a large number of textbooks in a timely fashion. Their hard work resulted in 700+ edits which removed inaccurate and biased ... more »
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