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High school graduates gain tools to combat anti-Semitism

High school graduates gain tools to combat anti-Semitism

Talia Levin
Talia Levin

Hagalil USY and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recently partnered to educate graduating high school seniors about how students talk about Israel on campus. During “Combat Antisemitism on Campus” — a Zoom program held on May 31 — teens were led through definitions and scenarios of anti-Israel sentiments. Discussions focused on how best to address potential situations with peers and school administration.

As a student who chose a college for its Jewish life and studies, it is an unfortunate byproduct that the school I chose, Barnard College, is also known for anti-Israel advocacy. In fact, examples which occurred at Barnard were even used in the USY/ADL presentation to model the thin line between anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. It was helpful to review situations that have arisen and discuss as a group how best to address them. Thanks to this program, I feel confident that I will know the administrative processes available to me to confront any issues that arise.

Throughout my Jewish education, I have had numerous opportunities to learn about supporting Israel on campus, but the timing of this program, at the end of my high school experience, was extremely helpful. As all the participants plan to go to college in the fall, the workshop served as an important reminder of the intricacies of how we can support Israel on campus and how best to classify and approach specific issues effectively.

At the end of the evening program, we went around and shared a way we plan to be involved in Jewish life and Israel advocacy on campus. Hearing my peers articulate their goals reassured me that I would have good company in standing up for Israel on campus, in addition to the support of the ADL if I should need it.

Talia Levin, who lives in Teaneck, is a recent graduate of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City and former Hagalil USY president. Next year she will be attending the double degree program with Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

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