Part 1 | Part 2
Ariel University, Samaria - not an ad, but the English home page banner. Just a suggestion - in case you have not heard of this institution before.
Since the academic year — and graduation season — are quickly approaching, I thought I’d address this important topic now, while Jewish moms and dads are stressing more than ever about their children’s transition into the future…and not only academically…this is part 2.
Hope you had a great Pesah!
If parents and their potential college student offspring agree that the latter must go to college, no matter what, it might as well be intimidation-free as possible, right? Safe spaces are the right of Jews as well as anyone else, no matter what they say. Here are some suggestions both sides may want to consider.
You could do all the usual things in America (or wherever you are):
- Investigate all the institutions of higher learning you are considering for anti-Semitic activity, if you haven’t already done so. BDS and Israel Apartheid Week started in academia, as did most ideas the Left is trying out on the populace. Here is a student aid resource hub of colleges and universities listed by percentage of Jewish students . I found this page from Oberlin College to be more confusing than helpful, since one of its teachers caused a scandal with her words and has not been dealt with appropriately, thus earning my skepticism that their earnest language and sincere-sounding presentation reflect their on-campus reality. And, as I noted in part 1, there is still at least one Ivy League school that *until now* has been free of Jew- and Zionist-hatred. Unfortunately, there seem to be no lists of similar schools yet.
- If you have found that anti-Jewish sentiment is difficult to get away from, find out whether Scholars for Peace in the Middle East Zionist Organization of America and other pro-Israel organizations have chapters at the college of your choice. I didn’t link to a list of Google suggestions here because I found what I consider to be a mixed list: Some of the organizations listed claim and position themselves to be seen as pro-Israel and are actually not in favor of Jewish life in a state of its own (and don’t even think about a kingdom with Mashiah, a real Sanhedrin and the Beit haMiqdash and all the land HaShem promised…all items on the true Jewish agenda.). A few years ago I drafted an article for ZOA Israel about the definition of “pro-Israel” which included the relationship Israel should demand of a true friend and ally, rather like picking a best friend, as it were (something tells me I should post it next...). You may also want to find out from people who have joined up with them how much protective value organizations like these provide for the Jews on campus. If that’s impossible, I have some thoughts that might interest you.
- If you have found one that is blessed not to have this major distraction from the true purpose of a higher education, consider yourself fortunate. At that point it might help to get a chapter of one of the above organizations on campus, if one isn’t there already, before it gets invaded!
But, what if this doesn’t work, or else the task you have taken on is harder than you thought? Here, you can peek outside the box a wee bit and see whether any of the following would suit you (either parent or potential student) better. You might come up with an even better idea!
- Consider other professions and modes of education. Engineering, designing, construction, sanitation, support, cooking, painting…you name it. Who says Jews have a choice of only 3 items: doctors, lawyers and rabbis (or, if you're a woman, a job that either doesn't pay enough or one too involved to have a family)?
- Consider a whole new life in the Jewish state: Israel. You and your children deserve to live in a place where Jews have a future; and even if we are still working out the bugs, you have the best chance at making a difference here than anywhere else in the world. I understand that education is cheaper, too – whether it’s Jewish education or college. Consider carefully how much it will cost you to send your kids to higher education wherever you are in the world, and then how much it would cost to bring your family to where the Jewish future lies. If you can sell your house to help achieve the latter, all the better. Frankly, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for America’s future, considering that college grads are being stressed out by all that being “triggered” by “micro-aggression” everywhere they go. How can they concentrate on honing the skills they will need for after graduation? How will they even take care of basic necessary matters without bumping into confusing situations? Like, how to support transgender students without violating the rights of students who are clear about their gender? (No matter how I word this, it’ll come out wrong and be misunderstood – I think that’s the idea!) And, today, where America goes, so goes the world (but we also see Russia competing for that place as well). I rather think Israel won’t get like this – there’s a whole different mentality here. Due to galuth, Jews are already multicultural and multicolored; and, due to kibbutz galuyoth, a lot are intramarrying, becoming one people again (when I first arrived a neighbor of mine was an Ethiopian woman who is widowed to an Ashkenazi man; they have grandchildren…yes, of course they’re both Jews.). It is written (don’t remember where now), that Eliyahu haNavi (Elijah the Prophet) will speed up the process by coming back and telling us all the things we need to know about how to prepare for geula and how we will live thereafter (or something like that). For this I imagine all Jews will feel free to eat qitnioth (legumes and other “little things”) on Pesah, and there will be a registry for which group we’ll be in regarding Qorban Pesah. Just for starters. Some are already to be seen helping lessen the Prophet’s load – at least we hope so.
- Consider the intangibles as well as the tangibles. Is it all about money, or does the quality of your life and connection to the Jewish people matter more? Even more relevant to Jews in hu”l is the question of how long your country has left to survive given the direction it is headed in. Again, I don’t hold out too much hope.
Young Jewish neshamas need whatever backup they can get from their family and friends. I know it’s a lot to think about on top of everything else! I hope you will consider my suggestions seriously, even though I’m not a rabbanit and these are just suggestions.
Not to mention, Israel needs Jews to do anything and everything. Although there are a lot of people other than Jews who have work here, a Jew should not be ashamed of any kind of job, even (gasp!) garbage collection or construction. After all, it is our country whether the world likes it or not, and all of us Jews are responsible for its present and future until Mashiach is revealed and crowned.
UPDATE: I would also watch Hillel if I were sending a child to college today. They used to draw a line at anti-Israel shenanigans, but now, you can read for yourself the story of Hillel Commemorating the Nakba...more links within the article there. This occurred at Brown University, an Ivy League institution.
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