There was no shortage of support for Israel on campus when Dina Goldberg (then Dina Muskin) was a student at Stern College. Like her, many of her friends had spent a year in seminary in Jerusalem. “Everyone was buying Israeli products and giving tzedaka,” she said. But something was missing.
“When it came to political action, almost all Stern and [Yeshiva University] students were silent,” she recalls. “Either they didn’t know how to be educated on Israel’s behalf, or they had no interest.” The kids, she figured, needed to get on a bus to Capitol Hill, like kids from other colleges do.
Following the example of her father, Rabbi Elazar Muskin of the Young Israel of Century City in Los Angeles, who has led Israel lobbying missions, and drawing on her experience working for AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, and founding C-PAC at YULA High School (Yeshiva of Los Angeles Girls High School), Dina rounded up YU and Stern students for a day of lobbying members of Congress. The mission: round up support for efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
And so YUPAC was born with the support of top YU officials, up to President Richard Joel. A grant from the Israel on Campus Coalition funded the first Capitol Hill mission.
The group met with dozens of members of Congress, including Jewish powerhouses Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a leading Democrat, and Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, a Republican.
These days Goldberg is living in Washington Heights with her husband, Daniel Goldberg, a rabbinical student at YU and Wexner fellow who shares her passion for Israel activism. (He proposed at the 2012 AIPAC conference!) She has worked as a travel-deals writer and blogger and is now in charge of development and fundraising at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s New York office.
“I’m an activist by nature,” she says. “Give me a cause I believe in and I will run with it.”
Rising to the cause: Goldberg bakes three-layer cakes to raise cash for charitable causes. Best travel tip: Make sure you use a credit card that maximizes points or miles.