I Want Students to Know That They Have Incredibly Strong Partners in This Fight
Ben Lefkowitz, Emory '22, Hillel International Student Cabinet Co-Chair
Attending the No Fear Rally was, to sum it up in one word, encouraging. It was incredible to see Jews and non-Jews of all different backgrounds, statuses, connections to Judaism, connections to Israel - all present at the rally, really standing up against antisemitism. It was also incredible just to see some friends there and to see people that are really powerful and really influential and really excited to stand up against antisemitism be present there.
Covering the rally on social media for Hillel was an extremely exciting opportunity for me because I not only had to think about how I viewed the rally through my own eyes but also how I could get it viewed through any different kind of background. It was really important to me to make sure as many speakers were covered, as many parts of the speeches were covered, as possible. I wanted to show the public the meat of what the speeches were saying, not just the exciting parts. So many of the speakers spoke so much about coexistence and inclusion and equality, and I thought that was just so important that it needed to be put out into the world.
What I saw at the rally that I hope to take into my role in the Student Cabinet this next year is that, first and foremost, students need resources and need to know that people in high-up places and all over the world are supporting them. I think that so often students can feel left alone, can feel isolated, can feel like they’re the only people in the world that are trying to stand up to antisemitism, and if this rally showed us anything, it’s that it’s not true. And so I know that my role within the Hillel International Student Cabinet is to be constantly be showing them that that is not true and they have incredibly strong partners in this fight.
I want to be constantly listening to the students and asking them “What do you need? How can I help you? What resources do you need? How can I best provide those resources for you and how can I just be there?” I think a lot of times too students just need to have a space to be able to speak about the hardships that they’re going through, so it’s not just about the resources going forward, but it’s also about a space where students can vent about the difficulties that they face. To be able to provide that this next year is going to be really important for me.
It all really just comes back to that one word - encouraging. I think the rally was a start to a much broader effort to combat antisemitism in the United States and in the world. It’s not the end-all, be-all, but if that’s the start, it’s a really good start.
To see the original blog posted by Hillel International, click HERE.