Chabad on Campus International and Hillel International partnered with 21 Jewish campus organizations to host a virtual event for Jewish college students, encouraging them to stand strong in the face of antisemitism and to be proud of their Judaism.
Hosted by sports broadcaster and activist Emily Austin, the event was joined by over 20,000 students from all over the world. Multiple colleges hosted watch parties attended by many as they yearned for encouragement and support in this challenging time — both of which were provided plentifully.
Jewish students on campus have been on the frontlines of the fight against antisemitism. In the first 18 hours after Hamas’ terror attacks on October 7, 2023, violent language and threats against the Jewish community and Israel increased 488%. 1 in 4 Jewish students reported an incident of hate or violence on their campus.
Leading Jewish scholars, celebrities, and politicians came together to show students they were not alone, and to empower them to stand strong and proud. Guests included Shark Tank “shark” and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Actress Mayim Bialik, Fauda actor Boaz Konforty, actress Inbar Lavi, GoPuff founder Rafael Ilishayev, Captain of Team Israel National Baseball Team Ryan Lavarnway, influencer Montana Tucker and activist Henn Mazzig.
Chief Rabbi of Israel David Baruch Lau, President Isaac Herzog, IDF Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, world-renowned Jewish speaker Rabbi YY Jacobson, and activist and scholar Rachel Fish also joined to provide both factual and inspiring information surrounding the war and debunk many of the inaccuracies about the attack on Israel by Hamas that students have heard on campus, and on social media.
Rabbi Yossy Gordon, CEO of Chabad on Campus International, said:
“As we confront the stark, tragic, and overwhelmingly painful realities of the recent attacks on our cherished brethren in Israel, we stand firm in our truth, in connection to our fellow Jews, to Israel, and to our holy Torah. It is critically important that no student feels alone. Every person who tuned in to today’s event came away feeling inspired, connected, and empowered to be a proud Jew and to combat hate with light and goodness. Now is the time to be united and more Jewish than ever. Chabad on Campus, together with our partners, will continue supporting every Jewish student to live freely and confidently while being able to speak up for our people.”
Adam Lehman, President & CEO of Hillel International, said:
“While Jewish college students are experiencing unprecedented challenges, they are also demonstrating outstanding courage and resilience that inspires us all. The way that our Jewish students support each other every day was matched perfectly and reflected by the diverse group of speakers and presenters who showed their support today. Today’s event illustrates that when we come together as a community, we can overcome anything.”
One student said:
“For the past three weeks, I have hidden my Magen David Necklace on Campus for fear of being harassed. Today’s event showed me that being Jewish is something to be proud of and that other people are in the same boat as me. As long as we stand together strongly and proudly, we will get through this. It also empowered me with the facts to enter into conversations surrounding Israel calmly and collectively. I am so thankful to the organizers for putting this together and to the guests for showing up and speaking out.”
Highlights from the event:
“I know you share in our frustration and anger when our actions to defend ourselves are questioned. Even when we abide entirely by international law…Our history teaches us that when the Jewish people are united and resolute, there is nothing that is impossible.” — President Isaac Herzog
“Let’s be clear. Hamas is responsible for everything that happens in Gaza because they rule Gaza….Contrary to what many UN organizations, NGOs, and governments would have you believe, there is fuel and water in Gaza. I say that with authority, knowing there is fuel in Gaza and it’s in the hands of Hamas. It’s not getting to civilians because Hamas doesn’t allow it to be delivered to civilians, and Hamas wants to use it for its military purposes.” — Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus
“There’s always going to be people who hate us. Period. End of story… But our lives are not defined by who hates us. They are defined by who loves us and who we love. Because from that comes all of our strength. All of our power.” — Mark Cuban
“I am a singer, dancer, actress, and social media activist, but I am a proud Jew first and foremost. And I’m doing everything I can to use my platform of over 14 million followers to combat antisemitism, and all forms of hate and to speak out for Israel. I’ve received all the hate you can imagine… but I will not give up.” — Montanna Tucker
VIDEO: Full Replay