As a Jewish student looking down the road to college, how can you prepare yourself to combat anti Semitism on the college campus.
Written by: Idan Epstein
Zionism: a movement for the protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.
“On our campuses, Israel is characterized as an evil entity….Most college
administrations simply refuse to recognize the existence of antiSemitism
campus,” Ziva Dahl of Jpost describes. Students and even faculty members of
universities have begun to equate Israeli Jews to Nazis. On the internet, I come
across political cartoons with descriptions like, “Zionists are today’s Nazis.”
The misconceptions and hatred extend outside of the internet. In universities,
Jews receive unfair treatment. When considering a colleges, I found incidents at
each of swastikas being painted on walls and of antiZionist
rallies being held.
Why do individuals feel this way toward Jews? I ask myself this question
when reading sobering articles of antiSemitism.
People hold that Zionists are evil.
Why are they evil? “They just are.” Many fail to learn about what Jews have gone
through and what “Zionism” means.
Spreading the stories of the Holocaust is a step toward combating
I can fight college campus attitudes by sharing what I’ve learned
from my grandfather’s Holocaust stories. To tell Jews that they don’t deserve the
same treatment as others, is to say that the experiences of my grandfather and
countless others meant nothing.
I don’t know when I first discovered how my grandfather spent his teenage
years. It seemed I always knew of the horrors he had endured, how he’d survived
the destruction of nearly everything and everyone he had known. The Holocaust
had prematurely ended the childhood, if not the very life, of its victims. But to me,
that all seemed to belong to a different place and time. It was as if the violence, the
murder, and the starvation, were scenes in a horror movie that had ended long ago;
now the lights were on, and the fear had passed.
As I progressed through school, the only uncertainty was whether I’d like
my classmates. However, at my age, my grandfather had already seen the end of
the world as he knew it. He’d sensed what was coming, and begged his parents to
run away before it was too late, but too late had come. Before it was all over he’d
endure hunger, ghetto liquidations, and Auschwitz, each of which claimed their
share of his family until nearly none were left.
He often says that what kept him going during those years were little “sparks
in the darkness,” small acts of kindness, or brief moments of hope. Because the
times were so dark, the sparks shone especially bright.
As I began maturing, it dawned on me that I was one of those sparks. My
very being was a flicker of hope in the darkness. I was the firstborn
the embodiment of victory over those who had nearly succeeded in genocide. I was
the grandchild of someone who once, it seemed, had no chance of surviving to
My grandfather triumphed over antiSemites,
and now it’s my generation’s
turn to do the same. I won’t be deterred by hateful campus attitudes as a
descendent of somebody who had resisted the most extreme form of hatred by
simply surviving. I won’t let my grandfather’s experiences be meaningless. I
anticipate joining many Jewish organizations in college without fearing what
others may think.
I read stories of antiIsrael
student demonstrations. Students protest the
“occupation,” and label Zionists as racists. Combating these attitudes won’t be
easy. When surrounded by antiSemitism
in college, I hope to have the courage to
step up against it, I hope to be the spark to illuminate the true definition of