Lessons of the Holocaust made their way to the New England Patriots. Mr. Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots organization, and the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism are to be commended for making this happen. What an honor it was for me to be a guide for a facilitated tour of the Auschwitz exhibition in Boston for the team’s 2024 rookies. The visit speaks volumes about the Patriots’ values, reminding young athletes that what they do off the field matters greatly in the game of life.

The varied responses to what the players witnessed left a lasting impression on me. For some, it was the first time they heard about the Holocaust and the word antisemitism, leading them to ask the unanswerable question: How could this happen? For others, pausing to reflect on the meaning of identity inspired thoughtful dialogue about what happens when an individual’s dignity is stripped away. The players left the exhibition as witnesses to the Holocaust, now responsible for carrying forward its lessons.

Providing this extraordinary learning experience for the rookies should serve as a model for other sports teams, including professional, college, school, and youth. The alarming rise of antisemitism across the country and around the world, in our classrooms and in board rooms, on the sports field and in locker rooms, demands more attention be paid to educating young people about antisemitism and all forms of hate. The Patriots seized the opportunity to do just that, providing these young adult athletes with the power of knowledge.

As we rise to the challenge as a society to find ways to effectively combat antisemitism, it is incumbent on us to reach young people wherever they are. My gratitude to the New England Patriots for seizing the opportunity and setting a noble example for others in the field of sports to follow.

Deborah L. Coltin is president and executive director of Lappin Foundation. She can be reached at dcoltin@lappinfoundation.org.

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