Our Statements

We Mourn the Untimely Loss of a Fearless Young Zionist

In memory of Joshua Avraham Erani (2001 – 2020)

Let us remember the courage of a Jewish hero who departed this world too soon

It is with the greatest sadness that we at APT report the passing of an inspirational young man from Newton, Massachusetts, whose bravery should serve as a stirring moral example to all Jews and supporters of Israel.

Former Newton South High School student Joshua Avraham Erani, 18, died this past Sunday, April 19, in a weather-related car accident. It was just over a year ago that Josh publicly challenged his hometown’s school committee over the continued use of anti-Israel curriculum in the local high schools.

Joshua — “a rare combination of humility, kindness and action,” as his moving obituary describes him — distinguished himself when, along with another Newton South student, he came to a meeting of the Newton School Committee on March 25, 2019, and publicly voiced his disgust with the politically partisan, anti-Israel-slanted curriculum taught in his history classes.

“I go to History [class],” he told the committee, “to understand the intricacies of the Dust Bowl in the Great Depression; I do not go to ‘understand’ why my people, the Jewish people, are committing genocide in Israel…”

One of the reasons the schools and the community gave for ignoring concerns over anti-Israel school curriculum in Newton was that no students had come forward to formally or publicly complain. Of course, any student who might come forth would risk consequences from teachers, administrators, and anti-Israel students.

Joshua, however, manfully met the challenge: “I’d like to say that using sources such as the Hamas constitution, but edited so it takes out all the ‘genocidy’ parts — not okay,” he continued. “…I’ve seen this; I feel it every day. As a Jew and just as a teenager in general, I completely disagree with everything going on, [and] with the lack of action [on the part of the school system]…”

Joshua was a remarkable young man, serving as Regional Vice President of Membership for the New England Region of B’nai B’rith Youth Organization. He proudly wore a sweatshirt bearing the BBYO’s fraternity logo (אצא) to the committee meeting.

His legacy is one of kindness, moral commitment, but, most of all, one of courage far beyond his sorrowfully few years.

Please watch the video of his remarkable testimony before the Newton School Committee; an act of steely moral fortitude which should fill our hearts with pride.

May his memory be a blessing, and may G-d comfort his bereft loved ones.

Watch the video here.

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