Education to Empowerment

by | Apr 19, 2019 | What’s Happening

A two-part series for teens and parents offering resources and tools to strategically respond to anti-Semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric on campus

Thursday, May 9, 6–9 pm: ADL and Ambassador Ido Aharoni
(for students and parents)

Friday, May 17, 4–6 pm: Artists 4 Israel
(for students only)

Both events include dinner and take place on the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus and are free with pre-registration required at

How many students would know how to respond if someone stopped them in the middle of a college campus to ask how “you condone human rights abuses by Israel?” or how to respond to “Israeli Apartheid Week” and calls for their university to participate in the anti-Israel, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS)?

American colleges are places of scholarly debate, where young adults go to broaden their intellectual horizon, with new opportunities to experience. Unfortunately, American colleges are also the scenes of anti-Semitic incidents, where according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), cases nearly doubled from 108 in 2016 to 204 in 2017. The same report showed that anti-Semitic incidents doubled in K–12 schools, with the acknowledgment that many more go unreported.

The Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, along with BBYO and OSTY, are hosting Cause An Effect, a two-part series for teens and parents to offer resources and tools to be able to confidently respond to anti-Semetic and anti-Israel remarks.

The first session on Thursday, May 9, is for both students in grades 9–12 and their parents. The program features Israel Today series visiting expert Ambassador Ido Aharoni and the ADL.

The ADL will lead “Words to Action” an interactive program designed to empower and equip participants to constructively respond to and combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias on campuses, including stereotypes and prejudice, vandalism, harassment, hate speech, and anti-Israel incidents. Participants will increase their understanding and awareness of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in their lives and know how to counter stereotypes and myths with accurate information.

Ambassador Aharoni will present “The Anti-Israel Movement: Threats & Opportunities,” explaining the origins of the anti-Israel movement on campuses today, its long-term goals, and how people who truly care about democracy can respond. (See page 31 for more information on Ambassador Aharoni.)

The second part of the series on Friday, May 17 is a program just for students with Israel Today’s, Artists 4 Israel (A4I). A hands-on graffiti project will bring together artists and high school students to engage in collaborative art expressing Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.

Engaging students to use their voices through artistic expression and to empower them to change the conversation about Israel, Artists 4 Israel’s executive director, Craig Dershowitz and fellow visiting artists make the connection from art to advocacy, showing that there are many ways to tell Israel’s story and that everyone can have a role in changing the conversation about Israel. Attendees should wear casual clothes, as spray paint is involved.

For more information, visit

Funding provided in part by the Tidewater Jewish Foundation.