July 12, 2024
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July 12, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

(Courtesy of JFNNJ Leap) From the moment our children are born, one of our primary responsibilities is to make sure they are prepared—prepared for all that life has to offer. We want our kids to be able to face challenges, obstacles and disappointments. We want them to be resilient, resourceful and most importantly—prepared!

Many of you may have college-bound children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews. They could be in the process of making decisions about college and their post-high school experience. After many campus tours, applications and tests, we often feel relieved when our teen finally commits to the school of their choice. We openly breathe a sigh of relief! But when they step foot on the campus of their choice for the first time, our kids could face challenges that are very unfamiliar to them.

Will they be prepared for college as Jewish young adults?

We have confidence our teens will be prepared academically because they have been successful in our day schools and received a top-notch education. But the college campus presents challenges our teens have never faced. Many campuses are considered a hotbed of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Sometimes the antisemitism is masked in social justice and human rights rhetoric. Could our kids get unknowingly influenced? Will they know how to respond?

According to a study from Brandeis University:

Nearly 33% of the respondents report being harassed because they were Jewish.

25% of the respondents report having been blamed for the actions of Israel because they were Jewish.

25% describe hostility toward Israel on campus as at least a “fairly” big problem.

We want our kids to have a powerful and meaningful experience as Jewish college students. Let’s make sure they spend time at Hillel, schedule a Birthright trip or maybe do an internship in Israel over the summer. Join a Jewish fraternity or sorority. If they build a strong Jewish community on campus, they will have the support and resources to navigate challenges that may come their way.

On February 2, Federation is launching a program called LEAP—Learn, Empower, Advocate with Purpose. LEAP is designed to educate teens about building a robust Jewish experience on campus, as well as understanding some of the challenges they could face. It is a six-part series for high school juniors and seniors that is part of our iCAN leadership program. There will also be a special session for parents in March. Speakers will be from AIPAC, StandWithUs, New Zionist Congress and more. The program is designed to be highly interactive, and hopefully, when the program is over, teens will feel informed, aware, empowered—and prepared!

I encourage you to have those special teens in your life sign up for this program.

This is important stuff.

For more information, contact Dustin Hausner at [email protected] or sign up at jfnnj.org/LEAP.

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