More than 700 students and community members packed James Madison University's Grafton-Stoval Theatre last week to watch the Hillel-sponsored comedy show, "Stand Up for Peace." Joined by the Center for Multicultural and International Student Services and the Israel on Campus Coalition of Greater Washington, Hillel enthusiastically brought "Stand Up for Peace" to campus as part of its initiative to provide thought-provoking and educational programming for the entire university community's benefit.
Based in New York City, the show features Jewish-American Scott Blakeman and Palestinian-American Dean Obeidallah. The two formed "Stand Up For Peace" a few years ago, when they organized shows to benefit Seeds of Peace, which promotes understanding between Palestinian and Israeli teenagers by bringing them together in a summer camp in Maine.
"We hope that our comedy can bridge the gaps between Arabs and Jews and help foster understanding," Obeidallah said. "We were not only happy that Arabs and Jews were sharing the stage for a great cause, but also because Palestinians, Israelis, Arab-Americans and Jewish-Americans were sitting side by side in the audience laughing together."
"Our show is a very funny and highly effective way of bringing communities and campuses together," Blakeman said. "Just by standing on stage together, and bringing Arabs and Jews together in the audience, we're making more progress than they are right now in the Middle East."
"The show provided a great opportunity for JMU students to laugh and learn," said junior Daniel Teweles, president of JMU Hillel. "Everyone who came out definitely had a great time, as the laughter was uncontrollable!"
The event was Wellness Passport-certified event, thus enabling students enrolled in JMU's Personal Wellness program to earn class credit for attending. Participating students must attend one event for the intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and occupational dimensions of wellness.