Hundreds of Jewish students will be in attendance at this week’s General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans. And these future community leaders are getting real-world training in Jewish activism on campuses across the country. Here’s a rundown of the major news in Jewish student world.
Controversy at Rutgers
On the campus of Rutgers University, a fundraiser by BAKA: Students united for Middle Eastern Justice has come under fire from Rutgers Hillel and other groups. Their concern is that funds raised at the dinner will be delivered to groups that may violate U.S. and international law. Read more here.
As Jewish and pro-Israel groups on college campuses oppose the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, New Voices looks into one of the most perplexing aspects of the whole debate: many of the student proponents of BDS are Jewish.
Jewish Students Gain Civil Rights Act Protection
After a campaign by a coalition of Jewish groups, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights ruled that Jewish students are protected from race-based harassment until Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. See Hillel’s statement here.
Telushkin Tours New York
Well-known Jewish scholar and writer Rabbi Joseph Telushkin is speaking at New York colleges as part of his ten-school tour promoting his new book Hillel: If Not Now, When about the legacy of Rabbi Hillel. Read more in the Cornell Daily Sun and the Binghamton University Pipe Dream.
Jewish Studies Strengthening the Community
On many college campuses, Jewish studies departments fuel and enhance strong Jewish communities. JTA has a piece on one such example at Tulane University.
Boyz in da Shul
Judaism has a male problem. That’s the concern of the Jewish Week’s Gary Rosenblatt and Debra Hirsch of Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent. Both are responding to a recent study by the Philadelphia-based Moving Traditions that shows boys’ participation in Jewish life is declining. Read more at Lilith’s blog.
1,600 for 1,600
Marking the 1,600 days Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been held captive by Hamas, the University of Maryland’s Zionist Organization of American is organizing a non-partisan humanitarian rally on the National Mall. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is among the scheduled speakers. For more information, click here.
Campuses Across the Country
· Hillel at Syracuse University celebrated its 60th anniversary last month with special events featuring an alumni panel and the E Street Band’s Max Weinberg.
· The University of Southern California Hillel has upgraded its building with new additions.
· Northwestern University’s Chabad house was recently vandalized; students and community members discussed the incident at a special forum.
· Jewish comedian and Rabbi Bob Alper and Muslim comedian Azhar Usman brought their national “Laugh in Peace” tour to Brown University this week.
David Meyer is a second-year student at the University of Maryland, College Park.