Support Religious Diversity Education

Dear Friends, 

With your support, Tanenbaum powerfully impacts the educational landscape.

Recently we have been actively promoting Resolution 1257, an innovative resolution brought forth by New York City Councilmembers Daniel Dromm, Benjamin Kallos, and  Daneek Miller, calling for New York City’s Department of Education to implement religious literacy and diversity curriculum in K-12 schools and provide professional development in this area. We are so fortunate to join the Muslim Community Network, the Sikh Coalition, the Interfaith Center of New York on this initiative!

Simultaneously, we have been finalizing the second editions of our impactful Religions in My Neighborhood and World Olympics curriculums which will be released in the coming weeks.

Please support us in our efforts to ensure that young people have the social and emotional skills necessary to respect the differences among them by contributing to this year’s Peace Made Possible Gala, and plan to join us on June 3rd, 2021!

Click here for our Gala webpage with ticket and sponsorship info. I look forward to seeing you there!

Stay active and educated in Tanenbaum’s future!

With my warmest regards,

Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum



Watch Rev. Mark Fowler Speak in Support of Resolution 1257

Join Rev. Mark Fowler, CEO Tanenbaum at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, March 4th, as he speaks in support of Resolution 1257!

Resolution 1257 calls on the NYC Department of Education to offer age-appropriate religious literacy and diversity curricula to all K-12 students and to provide professional development for teachers in this area.

Rev. Mark Fowler be a guest speaker on behalf of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding at a press conference to announce Res. 1257 and to call on the City Council to support religious diversity education. He will be joined by faith leaders, community organizations, City Council Members, and K-12 educators.

We invite you to attend this press conference on Zoom this Thursday, March 4th, at 10:00 A.M. You may register for the event at to receive the Zoom link and passcode you will need to join.

Join us to fight hate crimes and bias incidents with religious diversity education!



Celebrate Respect for All Week with Tanenbaum

Dear Friends,

From February 5th to 11th, schools across New York City will celebrate diversity and challenge intolerance during Respect for All Week. Incorporating materials on respecting religious difference into your Respect for All Week plans is important and Tanenbaum is here to help!

Our educational resources challenge stereotypes that lead to bullying, teach the value of diversity, and build behaviors of mutual respect among your students:

  • The series of conversations between Tanenbaum CEO Mark Fowler, Kyathi Y. Joshi, and Robert P. Jones, Ph.D. provide in-depth analysis of the relationship between privilege, race, and religion in the United States.

 Finally, consider signing up for our trainings on community building and combating religious bias. Thanks to the generosity of the Nissan Foundation, we are able to partner with three New York City high schools and provide trainings remotely and completely free of charge. For more information, contact today!


Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum


Honor Educators Worldwide with Tanenbaum

Dear Friends,

International Day of Education gives us a chance to honor the educators around the world who are leading students through these difficult times. It reminds us that access to inclusive, high-quality education is essential to achieving equality and justice, and that the teachers who provide this access are performing a vital public service.

For Tanenbaum, International Day of Education is a time when we recommit to our mission of helping students learn behaviors of respect for the differences, including religious differences, between them. We’re proud to serve schools throughout the U.S. and across the globe in countries like South Africa, Russia, India, and Greece as they work to overcome prejudice and build bridges between the diverse members of their communities. Resources like our World Olympics and Religions in My Neighborhood curricula and our Islamic Peace Education report build social and emotional skills of empathy and respectful curiosity for different nations, cultures, and religions.

Our upcoming projects for 2021 aim to support educators as they continue to prepare the next generation to live in a diverse society. We will:

  • Publish second editions of our World Olympics and Religions in My Neighborhood curricula and make them available as free downloads.
  • Partner with three New York City high schools to design and deliver religious bias and conflict resolution trainings in the Spring. Thanks to the generosity of the Nissan Foundation, we are pleased to provide these workshops remotely and free of charge. (Availability for this project is still open! See attached flyer for details.)
  • Make our Six Behavioral Learning Outcomes available on Tanenbaum’s website as a free downloadable resource.

For more information, contact with us today at To support the work of the Education Program, click here to donate online.

We hope you will join us as we continue to build inclusive and respectful school communities in 2021!

Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum


How to stop bullies

Tanenbaum’s trainings and curricula help educators reduce bullying in their schools and communities. By talking to children about religious differences, teachers can create learning environments that build respect for people of all religious beliefs and none.

Hear from Tanenbaum’s Philanthropic Bridge Builder, Marcy Syms about the importance of Tanenbaum’s work, and her wish to expand our reach over the next five years.

Click here to support this important work by donating through our website or text to pledge at 347-970-2803.

Rev. Mark Fowler,
CEO, Tanenbaum


Your help is needed to teach respect

As teaching respect for differences becomes especially critical, please consider a contribution to Tanenbaum’s education work. Hear from Tanenbaum’s 2020 Philanthropic Bridge Builder, Marcy Syms, about why she believes our work is so important. Tanenbaum’s curricula and resources teach students about the importance of respecting others’ religious beliefs and practices, and are formatted to be used in both in-person and virtual settings.

Please visit our website to make a contribution today and help Tanenbaum teach children that there is a fourth R in the critical subjects for life’s learning – “reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic and RESPECT.

Rev. Mark Fowler,
CEO, Tanenbaum

SimClinic: Virtual tool for practicing cultural competence

Dear Tanenbaum Community,

I hope you all are doing well! I’m reaching out because our Health Care program has launched two new modules of Tanenbaum’s SimClinic. The SimClinic is an online educational tool to help medical students (and any health care provider) solidify their skills in religio-cultural competency and professionalism.

While it’s designed for medical education, we think these modules could help anyone practice skills in respectful communication. As such, we would love for you to walk through the two new modules and take the brief surveys at the end. Doing so would really help us understand the SimClinic’s usefulness and could help us secure more funding to develop future modules.

The links for our new modules are below:
Module II

Module III

And our first module is located here.

Thank you for your help and for being a friend of Tanenbaum!

All the best,

Rev. Mark Fowler
CEO, Tanenbaum

These new SimClinic modules are made possible through the generous support of:









Engaging in Religious Dialogue and Reflection with Middle School Students

Guest blog post by Caroline Turner, School Counselor and Respect For All Liaison at MS 890

The new middle school in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, known as MS 890, is taking the initiative to understand differences in a diverse neighborhood.  In conjunction with the 6th Grade Social Studies curriculum, we have been exploring the question: “What role do belief systems play in society?” We have been learning about world religions and how they have affected world history. One focus is on comparing similarities and differences across the spectrum of belief systems and the influences different belief systems have on cultural practices and current events.

To expand on student learning, Joseph Sixta, a 6th grade Social Studies teacher at MS 890, suggested that we visit religious sites before the curriculum starts to learn how religion is practiced in New York City and specifically in our Brooklyn neighborhood. Students at MS 890 come from religiously, culturally, and economically diverse backgrounds and we wanted to hear from diverse religious leaders to get some first-hand basic understanding. We emphasized on the field trip form and in the parent chaperone orientation that the purpose of the visits was to continue to embrace diversity, inclusion, and understanding and not to promote any religious affiliation.  A goal was to reduce prejudice towards different religious practices. We recruited 19 volunteer parent chaperones from a sixth grade class of 90 students.

We decided that starting with three monotheistic sites would be easiest for both student learning and adult logistics. Luckily we live in New York, so we had many different sites to reach out to. The three sites included an Islamic center, a Protestant church, and a Reform Jewish temple, all within a mile of MS 890. With the recent Solidarity March against Anti-Semitism and the escalating conflicts in the Middle East, our field trips were timely and poignant.

In preparing for the visit to the Reform Jewish Temple, our students asked questions such as: “Are we going to be safe?” and “Is it going to canceled?” after the recent escalation in Iran. We discussed the questions, which triggered teachable moments and underscored the educational value in making the visits. At the temple, students wanted to know why they had so many security cameras.  Other students wanted to know how they kept the yarmulke on their heads.  Cantor Snyder described how Judaism is both a religion and ethnicity and this led to conversations around the recent anti-Semitic attacks. The Cantor said that after each attack, attendance at services increases in a show of solidarity.  He then mentioned that his mother asked him not to wear his yarmulke in public because of the anti-Semitic attacks. This comment resonated with some of the student’s fears of safety while visiting the temple.

At the Islamic center, students complained when they were asked to remove their shoes, but they rebounded when they were greeted warmly and treated to donuts. Imam Saud spoke about his diverse upbringing in Bosnia, Germany and Saudi Arabia. His childhood experiences led him to an appreciation of all religious viewpoints, not just his own. Students asked about the clothing worn by practicing Muslims, and about “the women who wear all black and all I can see is their eyes?” Other students asked questions about halal meat, and many asked about Ramadan and Eid.

At the Congregational church, one student asked: “what was it like growing up in your spiritual or religious background?” Reverend Tilliard described his upbringing in various black Christian churches and conversion to Islam in his early adulthood. Much of his faith intersected with advocacy work around racial inequalities at the time. He eventually returned and was ordained in the Christian faith. The pastor described the influence of the church in various racial equity movements in the United States and referenced the Old Testament story of the Israelites rising up against slavery in Egypt as an inspiration.

Caroline Turner, School Counselor and Respect For All Liaison at MS 890

The majority of the students participated in asking questions of various hosts. Prior to our visits, the various houses of worship seemed shrouded in mystery and may have given some students a sense of discomfort or perhaps fear of the unknown. Visiting the sites allowed the students to gain a better understanding of the three religions and their common goals. It also opened up conversations between and among the students when asking about their peers’ different clothing, customs and beliefs. While the intended audience for learning was the MS 890 middle school students, all of the adults also had an appreciation for the learning experience in a realm that sometimes divides us but is seldom formally discussed in middle school.

To culminate the world history curriculum, our students will participate in a panel discussion with Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu leaders, and we are open to all others. Our guest speakers answer pre-determined questions such as: “Can you describe your unique experiences of growing up in your religious community?” “As an adult, what motivated you to do the work you are doing now?” “What is the biggest misconception about your religion that you want to correct?” Each guest speaker was briefed on First Amendment rules in the context of public education. Most of the guest speakers had been selected from higher education sources or through local interfaith organizations to ensure that they are well-versed in this interfaith format. We look forward to continuing to allow our students to grow and ask questions to prepare them to be global citizens.

Guest blog post by Caroline Turner, School Counselor and Respect For All Liaison at MS 890


Marcy Syms

Marcy Syms, Philanthropic Bridge Builder Award, President and Founding Trustee, Sy Syms Foundation

Dear Friends,

We are extremely excited to honor Marcy Syms as Tanenbaum’s 2020 Philanthropic Bridge Builder.

An exceptional advocate for learning, Marcy’s personal support of Tanenbaum’s education program – coupled with grants from the Sy Syms Foundation – spans more than 25 years. Most recently, Marcy and the Sy Syms Foundation were integral to making Tanenbaum’s innovative K–6 curriculum Religions in My Neighborhood, free and available for any educator.

Because of her commitment to, and belief in our work, Religions in My Neighborhood now gives educators structured lessons in building respectful classrooms to counter bullying and encourage understanding across religious differences. So far, educators and advocates serving more than 43,000 students have downloaded the curriculum to teach young people respect for differences.

In addition to her passion for education, Marcy’s dedication to equal rights, women’s rights, public radio, and science and the arts, has made her an exceptional philanthropic leader.

Please join us on May 27th as we honor Marcy, Tanenbaum’s 2020 Philanthropic Bridge Builder Award recipient, at our Gala, live-streamed from New York!

To purchase tickets, ads or make a donation, click here. We look forward to sharing this exciting event with you!