New Jersey Responds to Hate with Art Curriculum for President’s Day

Posted on February 9, 2022 By

In an effort to combat rising anti-Semitism in New Jersey and across the United States, the State of New Jersey is releasing the Morris Katz Presidential Art Collection as part of its educational curriculum in high school and universities to promote tolerance and acceptance of Jews.

Under Governor Phil Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey already set itself apart in the fight against anti-Semitism, becoming the first U.S. state to rise to the challenge of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism while simultaneously promoting appreciation of the U.S. and increasing students’ patriotism.

Art is a universal language, and the historic Presidential Art Collection is especially poignant as it incorporates a unique perspective – that of a highly accomplished Holocaust survivor – on the most patriotic form of art possible. The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, an arm of the New Jersey Department of Education, has made resources available for schools to meet the requirements for Holocaust Education.

To help in that endeavor, the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce is offering a free program, the Morris Katz President Collection, available through virtual and print media that can be used to meet these educational goals. These paintings can serve as a gateway to classroom lessons, whether they focus on a specific president in terms of American history, a conversation about art, or one from the perspective of a Holocaust survivor and patriot who began a new life as an artist.

Duvi Honig, CEO and founder of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber (OJC), said, “At a time filled with so much hate, anger, and antisemitism, education brings unity and love. That is why this art presentation is so important.”

This Chamber has created the Morris Katz Foundation so that anyone can visit the virtual Morris Katz President Collection at to educate themselves and others.

Educators with additional inquires can submit a request for more info

About Morris Katz: Morris Katz, a Holocaust survivor, focused on his art after arriving on American shores in 1949. His work is featured in many museums, including the famed Smithsonian. Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Katz began The Presidential Collection project as a message of appreciation and patriotism to the United States, as well as for the benefit of younger generations who would use the collection to learn of the freedom, liberty and inclusion given by the United States to all. For six years, he painted portraits of each president, beginning with George Washington and concluding with the last president of his lifetime, George H.W. Bush, spending an average of 200 hours on each portrait.

Born in Galicia in 1932, Morris’s once-in-a-generation artistic talent was evident at a young age. During the Holocaust, Morris suffered unspeakable horrors in Nazi concentration camps and lost most of his family. After arriving in New York as a refugee, Morris began working as a carpenter; however, after struggling to find a job where he was able to keep Shabbos, he began painting.