Recent Pro-Israel Activities
December 09, 2003Comments (0)
| E-mail this to a friendAs the fall 2003-2004 semester draws to a close, Hillels around the world have continued to sponsor a variety of pro-active, pro-Israel activities.
American University students had a Table Talk and Tie Dye event in early December. Israeli students came to campus to talk about life in Israel. The Israelis took questions about what life is like as a student in Israel. After the questions, students tie-dyed the new American University Students for Israel t-shirts.
Arizona State University
Former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Avraham Burg addressed the campus on November 12 on "Struggling Toward Peace in Times of Terror." Co-author of "Myths and Facts, A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict," Mitchell Bard spoke at Hillel at ASU with several different groups. First he had a small discussion with a small group of students who teach religious school at local synagogues. Afterwards, Bard gave a public speech to the whole campus and then had a dinner with ten students to further discuss the issues.
Caravan for Democracy brought former Prime Minister Shimon Peres via satellite to Binghamton University. Peres spent one hour answering questions from students on the BU campus. Over 250 students attended the videoconference. The event was sponsored by Hillel at Binghamton, Judaic Studies, Middle East North African Studies, Political Studies, and the Harpur College Dean's Office. In addition, Pharaoh's Daughter, an eclectic band from New York City, performed on Binghamton University's campus. The event was sponsored by Hillel, the Department of Music, and the Convocations Committee. Over 125 people attended the concert.
California State University, Chico
Israeli pop superstar, Chava Alberstein, performed at Chico State's Laxson Auditorium on November 19. Also recently, Professor Sam Edelman, director of the MA & BA consortium program in Jewish Studies, spoke at the weekly Thursday Pizza Tisch. His discussion focused on Zionism in America and the history of anti-Semitism.
College of William & Mary
In response to a one-sided, dated documentary shown on campus, Balfour Hillel at W&M is creating a group to show a balanced movie about the Arab-Israeli conflict. In addition to showing the movie, they will hold a question-and-answer session with a group similar to Israel at Heart.
In the middle of November, Cornell Hillel sponsored an India-Israel event to teach students about the relationship between India and Israel. Cornell's CIPAC group worked together with the Cornell Society for India to bring together an Indian Jew and a speaker from the Indian embassy. An article was written in the Cornell Daily Sun at http://www.cornelldailysun.com/. Also, Cornell recently held an Israeli poetry and music night, and a cultural festival with 17 different student groups participating.
David Horovitz, editor of the Jerusalem Report, came to campus for a faculty lunch, and then gave a talk in the evening. The program had a great turnout from students from a wide range of backgrounds, and was very informative to those who attended. They've also started a Chug Ivrit, for students interested in working on their Hebrew-speaking skills, and have even incorporated this into Shabbat dinners. Looking ahead to next quarter, DePaul students are planning a program related to Israel and the environment centered around Tu B'shvat, and a lecture by journalist Yossi Klein Halevi.
Emory University students recently held a dinner with five Israelis who came to campus through USD/Hagshama. After dinner, students broke into different groups to discuss various topics regarding Israel and the Diaspora. In addition, five Jewish students and five Muslim students came together for an invitation-only dinner to meet one another and learn more about each other over Middle Eastern food.
George Mason University
Tuesday, December 2, 2003 the GMU Jewish Student Association, GMU Israel Club and GMU Hillel hosted a pre-Chanukah Party and study break. Students gathered for falafel, latkes, games of dreidel, chocolate gelt, and Israeli music. The event featured two visiting Israel college students, Ro'i (Roy) Hassell and Nirit Ventura, made possible through the Embassy of Israel's Academic Department, discussing life as an Israeli college student today. As an unexpected surprise, the students were joined by Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Administrator Karen Tandy and her family. Administrator Tandy came to see long-time family friend Hassell. In addition, birthright israel alumni were in attendance encouraging students to sign up for the birthright israel experience.
The George Washington University
GWU's Student Alliance for Israel (SAFI) kicked-off its "Orange You Glad You Stand with Israel" campaign passing out pens that say, "Do the Write Thing — Stand with Israel"; Post-it notes that say, "Stick with Israel"; shot glasses that say, "Give Peace a Shot;" and Nalgene water bottles that say, "Israel's Hot — Drink a Lot." In addition, the GW students are creating a campus shuk in the student union and are holding a large send-off party with Israeli food and games for their 100 students that will be traveling to Israel this winter break.
Students at Goucher College recently held a poster campaign highlighting the contributions that Israel and Israeli society have made to the world. Also, Dov Golan, former director of the Israeli Ministry of Health spoke on Israel's humanitarian efforts around the world on November 23. Finally, Goucher students are holding a tree drive with JNF.
Greater Miami Hillel
This past semester, Greater Miami Hillel hosted a Taste of Israel so students could sample fruits from Israel, a New Year's Hookah Night and a JNF Tree Campaign. Also, students going on December's birthright israel trip as well as other students joined together to create at Bedouin atmosphere. Finally, guest lecturer Amy Kronish joined students to speak about Contemporary Trends in Israeli Cinema.
Hillel at Guilford College sponsored an "Eyewitness to the Middle East" lecture series with guest lecturers Rabbi Andy Koren, Christian peacemakers Art and Peggy Gish and Jean Zaru. The series helped students better understand what is happening in the Middle East. More information can be found in the Guilford newspaper at http://www.guilfordian.com/.
The Hillel Israel Advocacy Group conducted its first activity at El Salvador University, at a conference of the Palestinian Government Deputy in Argentina, Sujail Aquel. More than 20 students arrived at this Catholic University in Buenos Aires to listen to Aquel's speech and to ask questions prepared in advance. Students are continuing their Israel Advocacy activity with a Pro-Israel Advocacy Training Program. For four months, the students have had the opportunity to learn the history of the land of Israel. They also have had political and strategic lessons, and they have received tools for advocating at the university.
Hillel of Colorado
During Colorado State University's International Week, Hillel of Colorado brought in many speakers about Israel. Hundreds of students participated and enjoyed the food at the Israeli booth sponsored by Hillel.
Hillel of Greater Toronto
Irshad Manji, author of "The Trouble with Islam: A Wake-Up Call for Honesty and Change" spoke at Ryerson University, University of Toronto and York University last month on the topic, "Defending Israel is Defending Diversity." All three speeches were filled with students interested in learning about Israel's human rights, women's rights and gay rights records.
Kutztown University, a small school in Pennsylvania served by the Soref Initiative for Emerging Campuses is excited to be sending five students on Hillel's birthright israel trip this winter.
Miami Students for Israel recently hosted guest speaker Professor James Rubenstein, Chair of Miami's Geography Department, who spoke to students about the controversy surrounding the security fence that Israel is building. Using a slideshow full of maps, pictures and statistical information, Rubenstein addressed a variety of issues surrounding the controversy from a geographic perspective.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University students have focused this semester both on the crisis in Israel and on the beauty of the country holding an Israeli Wine and Cheese Night, an Israeli Dancing session and an Israeli Cooking class. Several professors have also been brought in to discuss Israel's defense and the Road Map to Peace in a session entitled, "Falafel and Hummus, The Meat and Potatoes of the Road Map to Peace."
The Ohio State University
OSU Hillel is hosting many events next semester with speakers such as former Ambassador Dennis Ross and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi. Also, it is holding a voter registration raffle, a round table with members of the Ohio State Legislature, Hookah and Movie Night, and a screening of the movie "Relentless."
Queens College Hillel hosted the Blue Fringe Band on November 6 for a Magen David Adom fundraiser that raised over $2000. In addition, On November 17, Haigai Segal, Middle East analyst, spoke to students about, "The Peace Process: What was Offered and Where is it Now?"
Phyllis Chessler spoke at Smith College on November 12 in a speech entitled, "Feminism, Intellectuals and Jew Hatred." Over 75 people attended from Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges, including students, faculty and community members. In addition, Dr. Chessler had a private dinner with Jewish students from Smith and Mount Holyoke, leaders of Smith Democrats, Smith Republicans and other groups.
Over the last semester, Stanford University has played host to many different speakers and events aimed at understanding and dialogue. On November 11, Minister of Education, Culture and Sport Limor Livnat (Likud) spoke on "Current Politics in Israel." Earlier that month, former minister Yossi Beilin spoke at Stanford. Also, on October 29, Stanford Hillel held another of its monthly dialogue dinners this time with special guest Dr. Byron Bland, from the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation.
Syracuse Hillel recently held an Israel Action Week to bring Israeli culture to the student body at the university. The week included a falafel-making and teach-in session, Israeli Embassy Spokesman Mark Regev, a roundtable lunch with the Judaic Studies Department and a screening of the movie "Relentless." It held an Israeli Shabbat that week with flags, posters and postcards as decoration and babganoush, pita and hummus for dinner.
Tufts Hillel has started a new Israel education initiative called, "The Best of the Press on Israel." Subscribers receive an e-mail once a week with five or six articles related to Israel and the conflict in the Middle East. The articles are drawn from a variety of newspapers and reports that represent a spectrum of political perspectives.
Tulane University's Israel Fall Fest was written up in the Tulane Hullabaloo. The article in the school paper detailed the activities of the week including Israel at Heart, distribution of blue and white ribbons, and a film screening of the movie, "Wisdom of the Pretzel." The article can be found at http://www.thehullabaloo.com/.
University of Arizona
A group of 54 students is going with the University of Arizona birthright israel trip in December. Recently, Moshe Ma'oz, a former lecturer at the Hebrew University came to speak about the Road Map and answered questions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Also, the Director of Archives at Yad Vashem, Ya'acov Lozowick, came to speak to students on campus and held a talk on his new book, "Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel's Wars" at the University of Arizona bookstore. Finally, the Arizona Israel Alliance sent a letter of condolence to the Turkish Student Association in the wake of the bombings in Turkey. The letter was received warmly by the TSA.
University of California, Berkeley
Warren Bass, a past senior scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations spoke at Berkeley Hillel on November 7 on his research and current developments in the Middle East. On November 14, five Israeli students put together a program and presented it to a group of Berkeley students through "Zionist Seminars". The first seminar dealt with Israeli escapism and culture in relation to American escapism/culture, while the second dealt with Israel and Diaspora relations. On December 4, Hillel at UC Berkeley held a social for birthright israel participants to meet one another and hear from previous participants about the experience.
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Hillel organized its first Jewish Pride Week at UC Santa Cruz. A strong Israel component was included: "Made in Israel," featuring information about products and inventions developed in Israel, and a talk by Rabbi Joey Felsen titled "Why Face East: Jews and the Land of Israel." There was also Israel tabling with all of the student groups and Hillel in the main quad at UC Santa Cruz.
University of Chicago
On November 19, Chicago Friends of Israel presented a panel discussion entitled, "Why I am a Zionist." Mark Lilla, of the Social Thought department; Linda Waite, of the Sociology department; and Sam Peltzman, of the Economics department all spoke about why they are Zionists. The first 25 students at the event received a free copy of Alan Dershowitz's book, "The Case for Israel."
University of Delaware
On December 1, The University of Delaware Delaware-Israel Public Affairs Committee (DIPAC) will be showing the movie "Relentless." The film screening was followed by a general discussion.
University of Illinois at Chicago
The University of Illinois at Chicago, hosted journalist Andrew Sullivan with a talk on "Anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East." Sullivan also gave a separate talk on campus on gay marriage which attracted over 200 people. Also, students held an "It's Safe to Come" Israel party and hosted Israeli musicians to talk about the music scene in Israel. They are also planning an educational program about the security fence for next semester. Finally, students and staff are working to combat recent anti-Semitic incidents on the Chicago campus.
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
Hilllel Foundation at the U of I hosted the Midwest Student Israel Advocacy Leadership Conference November 14-16. More than 80 students from campuses including Purdue, Washington University, Michigan, Wayne State, Northwestern, Loyola, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Chicago and Northern Illinois University were in attendance for the Shabbaton. Students attended sessions such as "Applying knowledge of Islam and Arabic Cultures to Israeli Peace Negotiations" by Dr. Ilai Alon, visiting scholar at the University of Chicago this academic year from Tel Aviv University; and "Israel & the United Nations: Prospects for the Future — Is Reconciliation Possible?" by Tal Becker, legal adviser to the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations.
University of Iowa
University of Iowa Hillel's Israel Week was held November 16-20. Students participated in a Krav Maga (martial arts) seminar, a lecture by Deputy Consul David Roet, a panel on life in Israel, an Israeli food tasting, and more. Information about the week can be found at www.israelweek.org. To finish the week, former Ambassador Dennis Ross spoke on the campus. This speech was covered by the Daily Iowan at http://www.dailyiowan.com/.
University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh is sending 17 students on the upcoming birthright israel trip, a record number for the school since the violence in Israel broke out three years ago.
University of Texas, Austin
Leaders from a diverse group of student organizations joined together for a dessert reception followed by a briefing with Dana Kursh, Vice-Consul from Israel to the Southwest. Over 60 student campus leaders had the opportunity to meet each other and to discuss the importance of Israel- U.S. relations. At the end of the evening each student leader was given a copy of Alan Dershowitz's, "The Case for Israel." In addition, birthright israel alumni danced the night away on a party boat as they celebrated with the largest Texas birthright group ever. Students danced to the beat of popular Israeli music as an introduction to Israeli culture. Not only did students get a taste of pop culture Israel-style, they also heard first-hand accounts of Israeli life from birthright alumni while meeting and mingling with this year's birthright israel class. Over 80 students have been accepted on this year's Texas birthright israel winter trip.
University of Virginia
Pro-Israel students at the University of Virginia have been very active this semester. On November 3, a peace vigil was held in memory of Yitzhak Rabin. The following week, Hoos for Israel, and Amnesty International brought Mr. Joseph Wahed to UVA. Mr. Wahed spoke on his memories of being an Egyptian Jewish Refugee before a crowd of 80 students and faculty. On November 10, UVA Hillel, Hoos for Israel, and the College Republicans sponsored Caravan for Democracy, and presented Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, National Security Advisor to Israel. His presence was received very well and had over 350 students and faculty in attendance.
West Virginia University
On Nov. 6, the West Virginia University Hillel hosted the first "Hakim Family Lecture Series" entitled "The Turbulent Middle East: A Panel Discussion on the Arab-Israeli Conflict."