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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘School’

Campus Warrior Tells High School Seniors About College Anti-Semitism

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Last Wednesday, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the AMCHA Initiative which combats campus anti-Semitism in America, spoke with 25 Brighton High School students in Rochester, NY. Later, in the evening, she spoke to an audience of 150 concerned parents, educators and community members. Both events were organized by Roc4Israel.

In early November, the Rochester Campus Times reported confrontations between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students at an event organized by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) after the screening of “The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States.”

Noah Spivak, president of the Jewish Student Union at the high school, told JNi.media via an email from an AMCHA activist: “Soon we will each be applying for colleges and we are very concerned by the recent rise in anti-Semitic behavior on campuses across the country. Thanks to today’s meeting with Tammi, many of us feel better prepared for what we might encounter.”

Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick of Congregation Beth Sholom in Rochester, also told JNi.media via the same email: “Recently our campuses have become the battleground for anti-Semitic and anti Israel activities, mostly  by pro-Palestinian protests orchestrated by experienced hate groups — under the blind eye of University administrators. This has left our Jewish students vulnerable and exposed to  hatred and under attack.”

“Last evening, Tammi Rossman Benjamin of AMCHA provided us with leadership and offered us a selection of opportunities to engage in, so that we can be able to approach this challenge successfully. We encourage all who are concerned for our Jewish children to become involved.”

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin summarized her message, saying: There’s bad news and there’s good news. The bad news is that as a result of BDS and other anti-Zionist activity, Jewish students are experiencing alarming and unprecedented levels of anti-Semitism on campuses across the country.  The good news is that the Jewish community and its allies are uniting at last to do something about it, and you can help.”

Following is a portion of Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s talk, generously transcribed for JNi.media.

●  ●  ●

As you might imagine, anti-Zionist sentiment and activity have had extremely negative consequences for many Jewish college and university students. The injection of the anti-Zionist movement, and particularly BDS, onto campus in the past decade has fueled a significant resurgence and increase in anti-Semitism.  The lines between appropriate political discourse on Israeli policy and discrimination toward Jewish students have become blurred. Jewish students report that anti-Zionist activists single out, harass, intimidate, and even assault them, regardless of their personal feelings on Israel. And far too often, anti-Zionist expression is laced with centuries-old classic anti-Semitic stereotypes. The anti-Zionist activists target not only pro-Israel students, but anyone presumed to support Israel, first and foremost Jewish students, regardless of their actual personal feelings on Israel. As a result, Jewish students engaging in Jewish activity having nothing to do with Israel — wearing their Jewish sorority or fraternity letters, displaying Star of David necklaces, walking to Hillel for Sabbath dinner – report fearing for their safety and well- being. In addition, because of their support, or even just presumed support, for Israel, Jewish students report being rejected from progressive social justice activities such as pro-choice rallies, anti-rape demonstrations, Black Lives Matter events and racial justice conferences.In addition to ostracizing and alienating Jewish students from certain areas of campus life, anti- Zionist students repeatedly attempt to shutdown events organized by Jewish students and suppress their free speech about Israel and other topics. Sadly, Jewish students are being targeted, discriminated against and ostracized, and their civil rights are being egregiously violated.
That’s the view from 30,000 feet.  Now let’s get down to what I hope will be helpful specifics.

Anti-Israel student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine, or SJP, whose very mission includes the promotion of BDS, are found on hundreds of U.S. campuses. (I know that at University of Rochester, the group Students for a Democratic Society, SDS, has spearheaded considerable anti-Zionist activity on campus, most recently the screening of an the film “Occupation of the American Mind,” a film which not only demonizes and delegitimizes the Jewish state, its whole premise is based on the classic anti-Semitic tropes popularized in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” of Jewish wealth, power and mendacity being used to control the government and media). SJP and similar groups, besides promoting BDS on their Facebook pages and other social media, on the large “apartheid walls” they build, in op-eds they publish in student newspapers and at events they host quite regularly, groups like SJP are responsible for organizing campaigns to get their own schools to boycott Israeli products like Sabra humus, to terminate their school’s academic exchange programs with Israel, and, most frequently, to have their student governments vote on resolutions demanding that the university divest from any of its financial holdings in businesses which do business with Israel. More than 90 anti-Israel divestment resolutions have found their way to about 50 U.S. campuses across the country.  About half of all resolutions have passed, but this number is, frankly, irrelevant, because any school whose student government or student body even considers such a resolution is racked with divisiveness, hostility, and animosity for weeks on end. And whether a resolution ultimately passes or not, the anti-Israel forces have used these campaigns as opportunities to inject enormous amounts of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiment onto campus.

And it’s not just student groups like SJP, whose members are devoted to anti-Israel activity, that are involved in these efforts.  In this age of “intersectionality,” where the grievance of one group is opportunistically linked to the grievance of other groups, SJP has deliberately forged alliances with many other minority student groups on campus, who frequently add their groups’ names to the sponsorship of BDS-promoting events and the endorsement of anti-Israel divestment resolutions. For example, SJP has made common cause with Black Lives Matter, and students from both groups frequently co-host rallies and events linking Blacks and Palestinians and promoting BDS. Last year at the University of Rochester a talk by Reverend Graylan Hagler entitled “Connecting the dots: From Ferguson to Palestine,” which demonized and delegitimized Israel and promoted BDS, was sponsored by several student groups, including an Arab group, an Indian group, a Muslim group, the Black Students’ Union, and a multi-ethnic fraternity.

In addition to that, thousands of faculty on hundreds of campuses have also publicly endorsed BDS efforts, especially the boycott of Israeli universities and scholars, as well as the divestment resolutions of students on their own campus. Some faculty boycotters bring their anti-Israel animus and activism into their classrooms, and it is not unusual for academic departments to sponsor virulently anti-Israel talks and symposia, some of them even including calls for the boycott of Israel.  For example, earlier this year at Vassar College, a talk by women and gender studies professor Jasbir Puar, in which she falsely accused Israel of maiming and murdering Palestinians and harvesting their organs, and she actively encouraged her audience to endorse the BDS movement, was sponsored and funded by 6 academic departments, including Women’s Studies, English, International Studies, Political Science, Africana Studies, and Jewish Studies.  Indeed, since 2015 we have documented more than 60 departmentally sponsored events like this, on campuses across the country.

Given the sheer number of students and faculty who have positioned themselves squarely against Israel, even to the point of opposing its very right to exist, it’s no wonder that many Jewish students who identify with the Jewish state feel like the whole campus community is united not only against Israel, but against them.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. In a recent study that our organization carried out, looking at the prevalence of anti-Semitic activity and the factors that affect it on more than 100 US campuses with the largest Jewish students populations, we found that on close to half the campuses we investigated, students are threatened because of their Jewish identity, sometimes regardless of their personal feelings on Israel. They are assaulted, harassed and intimidated, their places of residence defaced with swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti, their participation in campus activities shunned, the events they organize disrupted and shut down, and more.

If you are a member of a Jewish or pro-Israel organization — perhaps Roc4Israel or a synagogue-affiliated group — or if you would consider forming an organization, perhaps an alumni group concerned about anti-Jewish hostility at your alma mater, please consider spearheading or participating in a campaign, say, to get the president of the University of Rochester or of your alma mater, to follow in the footsteps of the UC Regents.  We can help!   AMCHA will work with your group to develop a plan, provide you with our research on anti-Semitic activity at your school, advise you as you carry out your plan, and help you network with other groups across the country.

Together, we can make a real difference.


Police Investigate Swastikas on NYC New School Dormitory Doors

Monday, November 14th, 2016

The father of a New School Jewish female student whose Manhattan dormitory door was scrawled with swastikas on Saturday reported the incident to the NYPD, which launched an investigation. Police discovered swastikas on four New School Kerrey Hall dormitory doors altogether, News NY1 reported Sunday.

The room where the first swastika was discovered is home to four students, two of whom are Jewish and one Latina.

The Nazi symbols were scrubbed off by security.

The students whose door had been vandalized said they are shocked and scared. One of them told News NY1 that “it just shows that this can happen anywhere. Hatred is rampant. Anyone can be a victim of it.”

Another student said the experience “felt very violating and personal because it happened in a space where we live, where we hang out, where we sleep.”

Sam Lichtenstein, 20, who lives with three Jewish roommates at the dormitory, told the NY Daily News that she broke down in tears after seeing the swastika that had been drawn in black marker on her door. “It was just heartbreaking,” she said, adding it was “crazy to have it happen in such a progressive city, and a progressive university.”

Lichtenstein tweeted pictures of the defaced doors to New School President David Van Zandt, who later made a statement condemning the hate crime, and saying the school is taking action to keep students and staff safe.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the act “reprehensible.”

At about the same time the swastikas were drawn on the Manhattan dorm door, vandals drew the Nazi symbol on a sidewalk in Crown Heights, a neighborhood with a large number of religious Jewish residents.


A School Named After The Orlando Nightclub Terrorist?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

What do you suppose would be the public’s reaction if the U.S. government decided to name schools after the terrorists who carried out the Orlando nightclub massacre, the San Bernardino slaughter, and the Boston Marathon bombing?

Outrage? Demonstrations? Lawsuits?

All of the above, and more.

Now what has been the reaction of the public – or the media or the American Jewish community – to the news that the Palestinian Authority has named schools after a terrorist who murdered American citizens?

Silence. Indifference. Acquiescence.

Thanks to the good work of Palestinian Media Watch, we know that the PA has decided to rename a school in Tulkarm the Martyr Salah Khalaf School.

Salah Khalaf was a senior PLO terrorist who operated under the direct command of Yasir Arafat and masterminded a series of attacks in the 1970s attributed to the PLO front group Black September. They carried out the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. One of the eleven was an American citizen, Cleveland weightlifter David Berger.

Khalaf also planned the Palestinian attack on a diplomatic reception at the Saudi Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, on March 1, 1973. The terrorists kidnapped and murdered the American ambassador, Cleo Noel, and another U.S. diplomat, George Moore (as well as a Belgian diplomat).

An internal State Department report that was declassified and made public in 2006 stated: “The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the head of Fatah. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy.”

Note that the PA’s decision to name the school in Tulkarm was not some low-key matter. On the contrary, the PA insisted on making a big public show of the fact that it is naming a school after a murderer of Americans. The PA daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported (on Sept. 24) that a ceremony was held to lay the cornerstone of the school, and a PA official, Tulkarm district governor Issam Abu Bakr, gave a speech in which he “emphasized the importance of the project of building the school named after Martyr Salah Khalaf, in order to commemorate the memory of this great national fighter.”

Two other PA officials also took part in this public glorification of a murderer of Americans: Tulkarm mayor Iyad Al-Jallad, and Tulkarm Education Directorate head Salam Al-Taher.

That’s not all. It turns out there are already three other PA schools named after Khalaf. In Gaza – which the PA ran from 1994 until the Hamas coup in 2007 – there is a Salah Khalaf Elementary School and a Salah Khalaf Junior High School. Also, in Rafah, there is a Martyr Abu Iyad School. Abu Iyad is the well-known nickname nom de guerre for Khalaf.

There are many other schools in PA territory that are named after terrorists – in fact, Palestinian Media Watch has found 25 of them. And, of course, we should be deeply concerned about what goes on inside the schools: the indoctrination of students with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hatred and incitement to violence.

But what goes on inside these schools begins with the name on the front of the building the students enter each morning. That name teaches the children who it is their society honors and who represents the values they should strive to emulate. In short, who should be their role model.

The Palestinian Authority, which receives $500 million in American taxpayers’ money each year, is teaching its children to honor and emulate a murderer of American citizens.

In America, we name our schools after George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. In Tulkarm, the PA names its schools after kidnappers and killers.

This is the PA we are supposed to believe is “moderate” and has forsaken terrorism. This is the PA J Street and the State Department insist should be given a sovereign state, as soon as possible.

Members of Congress have the final say on how U.S. funds are spent abroad. It’s time for American Jewish organizations to educate Congress about the need to stop funding regimes that glorify murderers of Americans.

Stephen M. Flatow

Choosing The Right Middle And High School For Your Daughter

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

As an educator with more than three decades of experience in chinuch, I am often asked how to select the best middle and high school. Here is what I have learned during the course of my career:

1: Do a background check. For schools, that means asking about accreditation. To be accredited, schools need to have a track record of academic excellence and demonstrate they are following a set of tried and true standards set by national, regional, and state agencies. It is a rigorous process. SBTAG has been accredited for more than a decade by the Association of Independent Schools of Florida, the National Council for Private School Accreditation Commission, and Middle States Association on Elementary and Secondary Schools.

2: Know your child and find a school where she will have a variety of opportunities to shine. Some girls are Tanach scholars. Other thrive in math. Some play out their best moments on stage while others are all-stars on the basketball court. At Sha’arei Bina, we believe every girl has a talent, which is why we offer academic classes and a wide array of extra-curricular activities and leadership opportunities.

3: Meet the faculty and administration. Our faculty members and administration are experienced, licensed, and hold advanced degrees. Our teachers foster a strong learning environment, where they serve as both role models and mentors. They encourage dialogue and critical thinking. Equally as important, they reach out to develop relationships with students.

Dr. Rochelle Brand with a Sha’arei Bina student.

Dr. Rochelle Brand with a Sha’arei Bina student.

4: Alumni are a true reflection of a school’s character. This year we will be graduating our sixth senior class. In the five years prior, 100 percent of our graduates have studied in seminary and 100 percent have continued their studies in colleges and universities.

Our 100 percent rate is not an accident. Our limudei kodesh program is geared to ensure seminary acceptance and our general studies program is geared to ensure college and university acceptance. We offer a SAT prep courses, and application essay writing skills are taught as part of the 11th grade English curriculum.

In addition to the numerous advanced placement courses we offer during school hours, our students have the option of participating in a dual enrollment program at FIU where they can earn college credit.

5: Attend an open house. Watch the formal presentation, observe the informal faculty and student interaction, and then ask yourself, “Will my daughter be happy and successful here?”

In life there are no guarantees. However, Sha’arei Bina has a guaranteed track record. My promise to you is by choosing Sha’arei Bina, your daughters will be offered all the essential opportunities.

For more information on Sha’arei Bina, call 954-927-5544 or email office@shaareibina.com.

Dr. Rochelle Brand

Games Galore: Back To School

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Jodie Maoz

Boulder Prep School Students Expelled for Calls to Execute Jews [video]

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Five Boulder Prep High School students in Colorado were expelled over their Facebook hate group, where they were calling for the executions of Jews and Blacks, The Daily Camera reported last week. Local media report that Boulder police discovered the Neo-Nazi cell after one of the member had committed suicide “to show allegiance to the Nazi party.” Police is investigating reports of threats and harassment of a student at the high school by the group members.

The chat group was reported by a parent of one of the students. The group’s “second-in-command” told police, “the whole thing was ‘funny,'” assuring them he had no intention to actually do any of those things.

“It was a shock to the community,” Scott Levin of the regional Anti-Defamation League told CS in response to the revelations. “It isn’t as if there is any identifiable group [in Boulder] that is advocating this. There’s a lot of hateful rhetoric going on in this country right now, and that has just empowered some teenagers.”

An estimated 15 students participated in the “4th Reich’s Official Group Chat” on Facebook, according to a Boulder police report, which said members discussed “killing all Jews and N***s,” posted images of guns, and discussed “the final solution” and “white power,” and ways to “recruit more members” to complete their mission. The chat group’s “4th Reich” title is a reference to a successor to Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. In fact, the chat group’s leader identified himself as “The Fuhrer,” and members adopted Nazi military titles.

One entry went: “You can hang Jews on trees, shoot them right in the knees. Gas as many as you please,” according to the police report.

Lili Adeli, headmaster at Boulder Prep, told Daily Camera the school had addressed the suicide and the Facebook chat’s horrifying language. “We did a lot of work with the students to help ensure their safety and mental health and healing,” she said. “It can bring up their own thoughts of suicide and previous trauma.” This includes checking on students via the phone, including text messages outside of school hours. “We’ve continued to keep the lines of communication open,” she said.

Adeli also stressed that school staff have made it their top priority to educate students on inclusiveness and the importance of speaking out against “derogatory language.”


Games Galore: Back To School

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Jodie Maoz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/games-galore-back-to-school-3/2016/10/07/

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