June 15, 2024
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OneFamily Brings Jewish Activist Rudy Rochman to Teaneck, Oct. 3

Several months ago and an ocean away, noted Jewish rights activist Rudy Rochman found himself trapped in a Nigerian prison. The French native was visiting the African country to film a feature on the local Igbo Jewish community as a part of his documentary series “We Were Never Lost,” about groups of Jews that are lesser-known in the mainstream. Caught in the crosshairs of a conflict between the Biafran separatists and the Nigerian government, Rochman was imprisoned for nearly three weeks.

Rochman’s story didn’t begin with a jarring Nigerian imprisonment—his notability began on Columbia University’s campus when Rochman was just an undergraduate, becoming the founder of the college’s grassroots pro-Israel movement. Thanks to Rochman, Columbia became a model for other college campuses and Zionist movements worldwide. Since graduating, Rochman has continued his activism as a social media influencer, with hundreds of thousands of followers, and received the “36 Under 36” award for his leadership.

Rochman will be sharing his unique story at the Teaneck Jewish Center at an upcoming event hosted by OneFamily, an organization which provides for Israel’s victims of terror. The event, entitled “Tackling Terror On Campus, Online, & Around the World,” is sponsored byTeaneck residents Hillel and Joann Caplan, and Liz Strulowitz. It will include a brunch and take place on the Sunday following Sukkot, October 3.

Nomi Nussbaum, executive director of OneFamily, explained the organization’s choice to have Rochman speak was an easy one. She shared with The Jewish Link that part of OneFamily’s mission is to give hope to everyone. “When the Jewish people face terror and tragedy, we rally and find ways to help each other,” she said. “We saw this with Rudy and his friends when they were imprisoned this summer…the Jewish world immediately wanted to help, wanted to have more information, and tried to connect the families with resources.”

OneFamily holds the title of the largest organization supporting victims of terror in Israel, with even more victims needing support since Israel’s conflict in May. Nussbaum stressed the importance of attending events like the upcoming talk with Rochman, as the organization is “urgently” seeking more support. “We stay with victims until they don’t need us anymore,” she shared. “Our work is never done…and unfortunately, the community of victims is growing.”

Nussbaum anticipates that attendees of Sunday’s event will gain perspective from Rochman’s story and show “just how important it was for the outside world to be supportive while these young men were dealing with such a challenging situation.” She explained that having firsthand accounts like Rochman’s is “critical” to understanding a victim’s experience and sympathizing with those affected by terror. Nussbaum is hopeful that attendees will walk away with inspiration to “make a positive impact in the world” by supporting OneFamily’s efforts to help victims of terror.

Sponsor Liz Strulowitz explained why she chose to support this incredible OneFamily event, noting that their mission is “one that really resonates” with her. “Personally, my heart goes out to victims of terrorist attacks, as well as to orphans,” she shared. “Both of these groups of people have had their worlds completely turned upside down and inside out due to circumstances out of their control, and their lives will never be the same.” When Strulowitz found out how OneFamily supports both groups, she got involved immediately.

“OneFamily Fund depends on contributions from all of us to help those affected by terrorist attacks in Israel,” Strulowitz said. “Not only are they a support system for these families, but they also provide physical, emotional, legal and financial support to help surviving victims and their families in every way they can. And that’s why I’m helping to sponsor this amazing event.”

Sponsors Joann and Hillel Caplan shared that they “have been following Rudy’s work on campus and elsewhere for some time.” The Caplans explained that “[Rudy’s] calm demeanor and thoughtful explanations of the historical context of the situation in Israel are quite effective. We are very excited to help bring him to Teaneck.”

Rochman is looking forward to sharing his unique story with the local community on October 3, adding that he hopes attendees will walk away feeling “empowered to find and pursue their role in writing the next chapter of Jewish history.” Those interested in hearing from Rochman can register for this event at http://weblink.donorperfect.com/TacklingTerrorTogether.

For more information about OneFamily and to check out other upcoming events, visit https://onefamilyfundus.org/.

By Channa Fischer

 

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