Coping With Anti-Semitism on Campus


Preparing for college is an exciting time for both parents and their students. It is also an uncertain time, filled with anxiety, as parents send their offspring out into a world that is increasingly violent, unstable and filled with danger.

The Jewish community in the United States experienced near-historic levels of anti-Semitism last year, with attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions doubling in number, according to data released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in April. The ADL recorded 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents across the country in 2018, the third-highest year on record. In 2018, 201 anti-Semitic events on college campuses were reported – including the physical and verbal attack on two Jewish Towson University students in April 2018.

With such a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism, Jewish campus life organizations such as Hillel and Chabad have stepped up their efforts to support Jewish students. In this week’s cover story, JT reporter Shani Goloskov reached out to local Jewish campus organizations to get their take on what works best when confronting anti-Semitism and how interfaith communication can prevent anti-Semitism.

“We work with our students to create a warm, welcoming and inclusive community,” said Noam Bentov, executive director at Johns Hopkins (JHU) Hillel. “We also work with our many allies on campus … to make sure students feel supported and cared for.”

The Towson University (TU), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Goucher College and JHU Hillels all have partnerships with fellow religious groups to help educate others on Judaism and Israel.

In other local news, the Jewish Agency shinshinim (service year emissaries) will arrive in Baltimore next week to begin their 10 months of service, and the JT is here to introduce you to them. The shinshinim are high school graduates whose goal is to create stronger connections to Israel in Diaspora communities.

In the mood for a movie? See “Tel Aviv on Fire,” now playing at the Charles Theater. “The whole idea of ‘Tel Aviv on Fire’ is that we [Israelis and Palestinians] have more in common than we want to admit,” Palestinian writer-director Sameh Zoabi said. “We have to break these stereotypes and talk about what’s in common between us and not what divides us.”

This is my farewell to the Jewish Times. I have cherished these six months that I spent as editor. But an unsolicited job offer came to me that I can’t pass up. I thank Mid Atlantic publisher and CEO Craig Burke for his leadership and this excellent opportunity here. And I thank the Baltimore Jewish community for embracing me.

Shabbat Shalom.

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