A Jewish teacher has filed a lawsuit in federal court against an all-boys Catholic school in New Jersey, claiming he was fired after complaining about rampant anti-Semitism among students.
Jacob Rabinowitz last week accused St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale and the Archdiocese of Newark of religious discrimination, unlawful retaliation and creating a hostile work environment, news outlet NJ.com reported on Tuesday.
Rabinowitz was hired to teach calculus for the 2017–2018 school year and said he was exposed to anti-Semitism from students on the first day of class.
The nine-page complaint says that Rabinowitz was hired to teach pre-calculus for the 2017-2018 school year. The anti-Semitism began on the first day of class, the lawsuit says.
The classroom that Rabinowitz shared with two other teachers had a swastika carved into the blackboard. Students, for several weeks of the school year, threw coins at Rabinowitz whenever his back was turned, “An obvious reference to Jewish stereotypes,” the lawsuit says. A student told the class that his favorite scene of Schindler’s List was a scene involving the gruesome murder of a Jewish woman, which he acted out in the classroom. And one student wrote on his desk, “sechs millionen waren nur der anfang,” which means “six million was just the beginning.”
“The conduct he was subjected to was not kids being kids but conduct highly offensive to a Jewish individual who had to stare at a swastika every day,” said Justin Santagata, an attorney for Rabinowitz.
The Archdiocese of Newark, however, said Rabinowitz did not complain about the anti-Semitism until after he got a “negative job review,” the article says.
The suit — filed Nov. 28 — also says that school principal Michael Bruno blamed the students’ anti-Semitic behavior on Rabinowitz’s “inability to manage a classroom.”
Rabinowitz is seeking unspecified compensatory damages for emotional distress, punitive damages and other damages and fees.
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