OUR COLLEGE CAMPUSES have become a political hot bed. The landscape is changing and now more than ever it is essential that our young Jewish teens are equipped with the right tools to be well informed about the issues that can trigger confusion and concern when it comes to the negative depiction of Israel on college campuses today. “Knowledge For College” (K4C) is a community program started in 2015 and made possible by the financial support of the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County and Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin. This community-based program is designed to educate pre-college Jewish teens, in Orange County and Long Beach, about the terminology and issues surrounding the BDS movement and the de-legitimization of Israel. I recently sat down with the two co-founders Rabbi Robin S. Foonberg, the Director of Education at Congregation B’nai Israel and Robin Steinmetz who birthed the idea of K4C. In collaboration with community partners, they have to created something very unique and important for students who will be going off to college at a time when the politically charged environment on campus, as it relates to Israel, can be very confusing.
This is K4C’s 3rd year, and since its inception the program has gained a lot of momentum and interest in the community; thus, allowing them to continue to invite some truly great speakers. This year is no exception as they proudly present Joshua Ladon from the Shalom Hartman Institute to speak at the first session about understanding Israel and all its complexity, and Rabbi Peter Levi, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, who will discuss when anti-Zionist language and activity becomes anti-Semitic and what resources and tools can be utilized when a student encounters these situations.
On Sunday, January 21 at 6:00 p.m. Zeev Ben-Shachar, world renowned Israel educator, will be visiting from Israel to discuss with teens and parents about our connection to the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and how we can better address the increase in anti-Israel activity on college campuses and beyond. The event is free and a perfect way to kick off the K4C sessions for both teens and parents.
This program will empower your teens to be well informed advocates of Israel and their Jewish heritage, as well as expose them to how and why they can explore their Jewish identity during their college years. Students will be presented facts in an objective way through short documentary films, engaging speakers, and small discussion groups. Students will walk away feeling prepared to deal with issues as they arise on campus and educated to make their own informed and thoughtful decisions on how they want to engage in college life as a Jewish student. Over the course of four Sunday evenings, they will meet other Jewish teens and cover some of the following topics:
- “Understanding Israel: Where You Fit in the Story”
- “What is this Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Really All About”
- “Campus Complexity”
- “Why Bring Your Judaism to College”
- “When Does Anti-Zionism Become Anti-Semitism”
- “Tools and Resources For Dealing With Anti-Semitism”
- “Getting Out of Your Own Way …How To Maintain Positive Mental Health in Anxious Times”
To register or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and OR check out their website: www.know4college.org
Knowledge For College is funded by Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County and supported by Congregation B’nai Israel with collaborating partners: Jewish Federation & Family Services, Jerusalem U, OC Hillel and The Rose Project, The Anti-Defamation League, Temple Beth David, Temple Israel- Long Beach, University Synagogue, Temple Bat Yam, Temple Beth Shalom and Temple Beth El of South Orange County.
Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and currently works as the Manager of Operations at Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County.