Connect with us

RSS

College leaders must act to protect students

Imagine being a Jewish college student on campus today. You wake up on Saturday, October 7, and learn of the most violent and murderous attack against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. In those first few hours during which the extent of Hamas’s atrocities are still becoming known, you log on to social media and see fellow students posting a laudatory graphic of a Hamas terrorist on a paraglider — the same paragliders that were used in an attack to gun down Jews your age at a music festival.

In the days that follow, you leave your dorm to attend a vigil for the 1,400 Jews who were slaughtered, but your mourning and grief are interrupted by pro-Hamas protestors. You arrive at class for a required course where the professor asks all the Jewish students to remove their backpacks and belongings and huddle together in a corner so they can feel what it’s like to be a Palestinian in Gaza. You see that a Hamas leader has called for “a global day of jihad” against Jews around the world. And this is all within 72 hours of seeing graphic images of thousands of Israeli civilians – people to whom you feel connected or may even know – being slaughtered, raped, taken hostage or maimed.

And through all of this, you hear silence from many you would expect to speak up and express outrage at what is happening, including faculty who lead your classes and administrators who lead your institutions.

These are just a few of the very real and horrifying examples of what has been happening on campuses nationwide. And when you hear it, it’s easy to understand why Jewish students are scared. In fact, based on our survey of Jewish college students last week, more than half (56%) report being scared, isolated, angry and sad.

Worse yet, a quarter of Jewish students surveyed said there has been violence or acts of hate committed on their campus since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. That’s one in four students subjected to violence on campus in the span of three weeks in what should be a safe space. That should be alarming to everyone. We can’t allow it to go unnoticed or unaddressed. 

College and university leaders need to do more. Even with the efforts of those administrations that have spoken up about the initial Hamas atrocities and the subsequent spike in antisemitism, only 41% of the Jewish students we surveyed reported feeling satisfied with support from their university leaders. 

Hillels around the world are doing all they can to provide additional security, community space, programming, wellness support and advocacy on behalf of Jewish students. However, Hillel professionals and student leaders can’t solve this problem alone. They need — and Jewish students deserve — campus administrators to continue speaking up, showing up, and standing up for their Jewish student communities, which does not in any way preclude them from doing the same for Palestinian-Americans or other students being impacted by the war.

Students from Ohio State University Hillel gather to express support and solidarity with Israel following the Oct. 7, 2023, attack by Hamas on Israel. (Courtesy of Hillel International)

In particular, university administrations must address faculty and staff who use their platforms and resources to traffic in biased and discriminatory agitation that alienates, silences and marginalizes significant minority communities on their campuses. I understand the needs and protections for academic freedom and free speech, but those freedoms are not a license to create an environment of harassment, bullying and threats for Jewish students, or for any students.

Even amid this degrading campus climate for Jewish students, there is a basis for hope. We’ve seen Jewish students and Hillel communities show up with courage and resilience in mourning for the victims of the Simchat Torah massacre, and in showing compassion toward the continuing civilian victims of the war — both Israeli and Palestinian — even as they understand that it is Hamas who has put all of those victims in harm’s way. 

Jewish learning and tradition teaches us to bring light even, and especially, into these darkest moments, and our students exemplify that tradition. While students have a role to play in repairing what’s broken in their campus communities and in the broader world, that does not absolve the university administrators, faculty and staff from doing everything within their powers to ensure the well-being, safety and support for all of their students, including their Jewish students. 

Adam Lehman is the President and CEO of Hillel International, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world.


The post College leaders must act to protect students appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading

RSS

Poland Bans Israeli Soccer Teams From Major City Due to ‘Safety’ Concerns

Stadion Widzewa is a multi-use stadium in Łódź, Poland. It is currently used mostly for football matches and serves as the home stadium of Widzew Łódź. Photo: maps.pomocnik.com.

Two Israeli soccer teams — Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Beer Sheva — that were set to play their European Championship matches in the Polish city of Łódź have been banned by the hosting country, after widespread outrage from Poles.

The Union of European Football Associations previously announced that Israel will not be allowed to host UEFA-sanctioned matches due to the ongoing war against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

As a result, the Israeli clubs announced on Sunday that their new “home stadiums” would be the Władysław Król Municipal Stadium and the Stadion Widzewa in Łódź. Soon afterward, two Polish clubs that play at the stadiums released statements distancing themselves from the decision, with many fans expressing antisemitic outrage on social media against Israel and support for the Palestinians.

The Polish city’s Cultural and Sport authority then released a statement saying that no Israeli teams would play at any facilities in Łódz because “the safety of Łódź residents and visitors is the highest priority for the city.”

Yacov Livne, the Israeli Ambassador to Poland, slammed the decision and lodged a complaint with the Polish city.

“One should not give in to such threats. Lodz needs to remain a place of tolerance, not fear,” Livne said in a statement on X/Twitter.

Maccabi Haifa took second place in the Israeli top league, giving it the opportunity to play in the qualifying rounds for the European Conference League, while Hapoen Beer Sheva came third in the Israeli premier league.

One of the Polish clubs based in Łódz has a history of antisemitism.

In 2016, a group of ŁKS Łódz hooligans set fire to “Jewish” effigies and paraded a banner calling for the burning of Jews. Years earlier in 2013, fans of the same team invited visitors to an indoor tournament to play a game in which they could throw objects at “Jews,” models dressed in uniforms of the club’s rival, Widzew Łódź. A sign next to the game informed players that for a meager price they would be given “three throws at the Jews.”

Antisemitism is increasingly creeping into Polish politics as well.

Last week a virulently antisemitic member of the Polish parliament who extinguished the candles of a lit Hanukkah menorah with a fire extinguisher won a seat in the European Parliament elections, riding a wave of far-right success across the continent.

The post Poland Bans Israeli Soccer Teams From Major City Due to ‘Safety’ Concerns first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

RSS

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino Harassed in NYC by Anti-Israel Media Personality For Being a ‘Zionist’

Quentin Tarantino being harassed by anti-Israel media personality “Crackhead Barney.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

A notorious anti-Israel social media personality accosted filmmaker Quentin Tarantino at a New York City restaurant and called him a “Zionist piece of s–t.”

A woman known online as “Crackhead Barney” shared a video on Saturday of her confrontation with the “Django Unchained” director, 61, as he was eating alone inside a restaurant on St. Marks Place. She approached his table and shouted, “Quentin Tarantino, say ‘Free Palestine!’ Why are you a Zionist piece of s__t?!” Tarantino remained silent as Barney repeated herself and then asked him, “Going to Israel?” as workers from the establishment tried to make her leave the restaurant.

When Tarantino left the eatery, a rowdy crowd awaited him outside including Barney, who confronted him again. She repeatedly shouted “Free Palestine” and asked the director to “say ni–er” multiple times while also exposing herself to the “Pulp Fiction” director. The crowd of people outside the restaurant also chanted “Toes! Toes!” which is seemingly a nod to the director’s fixation with showcasing feet in his movies.

Tarantino is married to Israeli singer Daniella Pick, who is the daughter of legendary Israeli pop musician Svika Pick. The couple live in Tel Aviv with their two children and Tarantino spoke in 2021 about learning Hebrew. In 2022, he received an honorary degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, Tarantino visited an army base in southern Israel and met with Israel Defense Force (IDF) troops.

Earlier this year, Barney harassed actor Alec Baldwin inside a coffee shop in New York City and recorded their confrontation on her cellphone. She told the actor, “Free Palestine … F–k Israel, F–k Zionism.” She repeatedly asked Baldwin to also say “Free Palestine” and when she would not back down, Baldwin eventually knocked Barney’s phone from her hands.

The post Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino Harassed in NYC by Anti-Israel Media Personality For Being a ‘Zionist’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

RSS

Online Live Chat Service for Jews to Connect With Rabbis Sees 300% Increase Since Oct. 7 Attacks

A protester wrapped in an Israeli flag at a rally against antisemitism at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

A live web service provided by Aish.com that allows users to speak directly with one of the Jewish organization’s leading rabbis has seen a 300 percent increase in usage since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.

More than 5,000 chat responses (over 225 per day) are received each month, according to Aish, which added in a press release that many of the chats turn into extended conversations, sometimes on WhatsApp, in which rabbis help unaffiliated or disconnected Jewish users reconnect with their Jewish identities and form bonds with other Jews.

The Jewish organization said it believes the increase in usage of its live web chat service is due to the global rise in antisemitism and a newfound curiosity about Israel following Oct. 7, as well as a “yearning for meaning and community in the face of life’s uncertainties, and a desire for deeper meaning and spirituality in the face of a fast-paced modern culture where spiritual needs have been put on a backburner for too long.”

“We’re hearing from so many Jews who feel profoundly disconnected, whether due to living in areas with little Jewish community or lack of affiliation growing up,” said Rabbi Tzvi Broker, who oversees Aish.com‘s Live Chat. “The personal nature of these interactions, coupled with their anonymity, creates a safe space to ask questions and begin exploring. Having a live rabbi to connect and share with, has been a draw for many, and we’re seeing lives transformed as a result.”

Among their efforts, Broker and his team have helped people on the chat slowly incorporate Jewish rituals and traditions into their lives, and have connected them with peers through the organization’s new online community Aish+ so they can continue learning and engaging with other Jews.

“It’s amazing to witness lives being transformed in such profound ways,” said Broker. “Jews around the world are finding threads of connection to their heritage, and tapping into the depth and wisdom of our tradition to find meaning, community, and resilience in these challenging times.”

Bob Diener, the founder of hotels.com and the seed funder of Aish.com’s live chat, added in a statement: “The chat has been a powerful way for people to connect one-on-one with a spiritual leader and have their unique questions answered in a non-threatening and non-intimidating way. The chat’s rabbis are connecting so many people to their roots who otherwise don’t know where to go for guidance.”

“The chats have had a deep impact on many disconnected from the Jewish community,” said Aish CEO Rabbi Steven Burg. “Each of the people we connect with demonstrates a broad yearning to explore Jewish spirituality, peoplehood, and identity and that is why they have been turning to Aish for connection and guidance. We are happy to provide both while connecting them with local Jewish communities in their area, if there is one, to continue their journey.”

The post Online Live Chat Service for Jews to Connect With Rabbis Sees 300% Increase Since Oct. 7 Attacks first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News