As students begin to filter back to campus following winter break, Hillels across the country are making their voices heard and planning events to show solidarity with Israel as fighting in Gaza continues.
When news of the conflict first broke on December 30, Larissa Rozenblat, an Israel Fellow at Virginia Tech University Hillel, was interviewed by CBS 2 News in New York City while attending a protest.
Larissa Rozenblat is an Israel Fellow at Virginia Tech Hillel.
Today Hillel students from Towson University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County arrived in Israel armed with duffle bags filled with crayons, coloring books and children's toys. The bags were immediately picked up by Israeli soldiers who delivered the goods to children in Ashkelon who have been forced out of school since the fighting began last month. The items were collected from throughout the Baltimore-area in the weeks leading up to the students' trip.
Hillel of Silicon Valley showed support for Israel by attending a rally in San Jose, Ca., over the weekend which was covered in The Mercury News.
Kasa Bayisin, Israel Fellow at The Ohio State University (OSU) Hillel, spoke last Wednesday at OSU Hillel’s rally to more than 400 people. After she finished her story, Lt. Governor of Ohio Lee Fisher shook her hand and gave her his personal card, inviting her to call him anytime. Bayisin’s 2-year-old cousin was killed two years ago when a Kasam rocket was dropped on a Kindergarten in Sderot.
Hillel students at UC Irvine rally in support of Israel. PHOTO BY BOAZ CARMI.
The following Hillels have already held activities on campus:
- Students from Princeton University Hillel in collaboration with Muslim and Palestinian groups on campus observed 15 minutes of silence on January 8 to reflect on the conflict in Gaza. Princeton Hillel also hosted a discussion with Israeli Ambassador Dan Kurtzer about "Israel at War" following Shabbat dinner on January 9.
- Middlebury University Hillel also observed 15 minutes of silence and plan to bring David Makovsky, director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process, to speak on campus this week.
- Hillel students from UC, Irvine were present at an anti-Israel rally on campus so that they could counter misinformation being distributed. Students along with a few community members stood behind the speaker at the rally, in full view of the audience, holding signs such as "Israel Wants Peace, Hamas Wants War."
- Students at UC, San Diego were also visible at an anti-Israel rally last week. The students carried Israeli and American flags and provided pro-Israel hand-outs.
- Pro-Israel students from Oregon Hillel counter-demonstrated at an anti-Israel protest on campus in a non-confrontational way.
- Pro-Israel students from University of Washington also counter demonstrated at an anti-Israel rally.
- Students at Syracuse University wore blue and white to show solidarity with Israel. In addition, students joined the Syracuse Jewish community in rallying for the State of Israel.
- University of Florida is holding a week of solidarity activities on campus, including a march in support of Israel, a peace rally, and a Q&A session.
The following Hillels are planning future events in support of Israel:
- At Stanford University, students are planning a rally around the "Save A Child's Heart" cause.
- Dartmouth Hillel is planning a panel discussion featuring a range of viewpoints on the situation in Israel.
- Hillels of Richmond will join with the local Jewish community to rally in support of Israel.
- Students at UCLA are creating a petition with the goal of finding 5,000 signatures.
- Hillel at New Paltz is planning a peace rally with the Muslim Student Assocation, calling it "Salaam, Shalom, Peace: Common Prayer" and dedicating it to the children killed.
If your campus is planning an activity, please email the details to Max Orenstein.
Additional stories on Hillel's response to the Gaza situation.