Hillel students and professionals were recognized for their on-campus pro-Israel activism by AIPAC at its annual Policy Conference in March.
Among the honorees for the Ally of the Year Awards were Florida Hillel Executive Director Keith Dvorchik; Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life President Wayne Firestone; Lisa Eisen, National Director of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; and Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) Executive Director Steve Kuperberg.
Awards were also given to students on numerous campuses across the country. Activists at Indiana University were given the top award, the Duke Rudman Leadership Award, for their exceptional accomplishments building connections with students, campus leaders, and leaders on Capitol Hill. The activists at IU brought together more than 200 student leaders for a briefing in Bloomington by AIPAC President Lee Rosenberg. On the same day they published a full-page statement of support for the U.S.-Israel relationship in the school newspaper featuring the signatures of 100 prominent campus leaders.
Three individual students won Advocate of the Year awards, including Harvard Law School student Alex Chester, who was honored for organizing a group of Harvard student activists to engage Harvard alumni in Congress on the issue of Iran. The students solicited their help and support in their efforts to encourage Harvard to divest its holdings from Iran.
Another award winner was Brown University Hillel student activist Avi Schaefer who was killed by a motorist earlier this year. In presenting the award, AIPAC noted: "In his short time at Brown, he proved that one individual can make a tremendous impact, not only on his peers on campus, but on the entire pro-Israel political movement. Schaefer, an IDF veteran, was instrumental in bringing students together from across the political spectrum under the premise that their collective activism could change the world."
Students at Liberty University, Florida International University, Morehouse College, Louisiana State University, and the George Washington University also received awards for their pro-Israel activism during the current school year.