MSU delegation attends Black-Jewish Summit
On the Michigan State campus, I am a co-head intern for the David Project, an Israel advocacy organization that focuses on building relationships with targeted audiences. The goal of the David Project is to dispel misconceptions about Israel through building genuine relationships across campuses.
Being an intern has presented me with many opportunities I otherwise would not have experienced. I was granted the privilege of attending the Black-Jewish Summit in Washington, D.C., Nov. 3-5. At the summit, there were delegations from eight different schools from all regions of the United States. This broad outreach enhanced opportunities to learn about the challenges faced by attendees from different backgrounds.
At the summit, I participated in numerous activities. The most meaningful and memorable was a play. On the first night of the weekend, two actors came to the Schusterman International Center. The lead actor, Ron Jones, wrote an inspirational play focusing on the relationship between the Jewish and Black communities, dating back to the 1960s. During the play, the actors discussed the injustices done to both communities, along with the collaboration during the civil rights movement. The points that were given by both actors were incredibly interesting.
Observing the play truly made me reconsider some preconceived thoughts related to the relations of our two diverse communities.
Considering the David Project’s mission, the concept behind this weekend summit is crystal clear. The purpose was to build connections between Jewish and Black communities in the United States and create a dialogue — a dialogue that could be continued once we all returned to our campuses.
The delegation from MSU plans on continuing this dialogue by bringing the same writer, Ron Jones, to perform at the Black Caucus around our campus. We believe this will be integral in initiating a conversation on how building bridges between our communities can be mutually beneficial as we continue to learn from one another.
Ari Chesterman } Contributing Writer
Ari Chesterman of Huntington Woods is a junior at Michigan State University majoring in International Studies with a focus in the Middle East.
HCAM campus Hillels join for Shabbat dinner
Grand Valley State University’s Hillel hosted an HCAM Shabbat Nov. 3. Students attended from Grand Valley State, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan universities as well as Kalamazoo College.
The idea for this Shabbat dinner sprouted from my experience this past summer while representing GVSU at Hillel’s Engagement Institute. During the conference, I was lucky to meet other student leaders from HCAM schools. There, I bonded with them as well as other members from different Hillels across the country and throughout the world.
I am grateful to have met them because we are able to discuss different event ideas as well as work together to plan this Shabbat. At our Shabbat dinner, we reconnected and met other members from HCAM. It was fun watching my friends catch up with people they grew up with in middle school, high school or BBYO who are now spread out at different schools.
Zoe Kaufman, GVSU Hillel president, is this year’s Women’s Inspire intern. She asked all to wear pink this Shabbat to raise awareness for breast cancer. “It is important for Jewish students to connect across our respective campuses — to strengthen our bonds, not only as minorities, but as leaders as well,” she said.
Each Hillel hosts Shabbat dinners, but this Shabbat, we added four other campuses from around the state. We talked about the Jewish communities at each campus, our Jewish identities and become closer friends with each other.
Coming from a small organization, it was great to see a large turnout for Shabbat with more than 30 people in attendance.
Hosting events like this, which allow us to connect with the other campuses, benefits us all. As we work together, we can get event ideas, leadership advice, compare experiences, and gain an overall sense of support and collaboration.
If one of our campuses were to face an anti-Semitic or anti-Israel incident, although we are unable to be there in person, we can show our support and let them know they are not alone.
Our plan is to continue to have HCAM events between our campuses to get to know each other better and support one another. With the collaboration of HCAM, we can help strengthen and grow our organizations as well as become more well-known within our communities.
Nathan Dumond } Contributing Writer
Nathan Dumond of West Bloomfield is a sophomore at Grand Valley State University from West Bloomfield.