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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