The Shmooze

California Students Caught Playing ‘Beat the Jew’ Game

By Josh Tapper

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If playground politics weren’t brutal enough, seven Southern California high school seniors added a little antisemitic flair through a game brazenly titled “Beat the Jew,” played on and around the campus of La Quinta High School on May 20.

The game, promoted through a 40-member Facebook page, never happened again and the participating students all face punishment, the severity of which isn’t yet known, according to a recent Jewish Telegraphic Agency article.

As startling as the name of the game might seem, the rules were even more abhorrent. While the exact details vary, here’s the gist: one volunteer – “the Jew” – was blindfolded, stranded on the side of highway and left to the torment of “Nazis,” riding in cars, who chased “the Jew” back to campus.

While no one was hurt and there are no allegations of coercion, the game was reported to school administrators in late May. “This is appalling to us,” said Sherry Johnstone, assistant superintendent with the school district, in an AP article. “We want out students to understand the horror of a title like this.”

In the face of punishment, some participants have pleaded ignorance, saying they didn’t know the game was called “Beat the Jew” or didn’t think about the game’s general wrongness, district superintendent Sharon McGehee told The Desert Sun newspaper.

Aside from the punishments, rumored to be suspension or exclusion from graduation, the district has turned to local Jewish leaders to revamp the school’s tolerance curriculum.


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