Friday, February 7, 2014

San Francisco Hillel Reaches Out

Michael L.

I am very pleased to forward this information from Hillel's San Francisco State University chapter.

People like Alon Shalev, the Executive Director of San Francisco Hillel, are in an exceedingly difficult position and it is important for the pro-Israel / pro-Jewish community to support them.

I spoke to him this morning concerning the situation at San Francisco State University and, I have to say, my heart goes out to the guy.  This is someone doing a remarkable job under difficult circumstances.

Good for him!

So let's send some students to AIPAC and maybe even purchase a San Francisco Sweatshirt in Hebrew.  I intend to do so.

For those of you who have pockets, contact the guy at:

San Francisco Hillel,
33 Banbury Drive, San Francisco, CA 94132
Dear Michael,

It has been a rough few months for the pro-Israel student at SF State. The glorification of violence against Israelis as seen through the stencil incident and, more disturbingly, the knife incidents, has had a profound impact on our students.

A few are angry and empowered to lobby the campus for a non-violent, safe environment for all minorities and views. These students have high energy, but need the training and networking with talented colleagues. They need the inspiring experiences.

Then there are the majority who are shell-shocked and intimidated or simply disillusioned. At a time when the pro-Israel student community was making such great strides through promoting Study Abroad in Israel, staffing an Israeli exhibit at Campus Sustainability Day, and launching Connect Through Dialogue, this is a blow that takes the wind from your stomach. It makes you ask: do I really want to spend my college experience embroiled in such conflict?

SF Hillel staff are strategizing and engaging with these students. One clear initiative is to send our largest delegation to the AIPAC summit. This is no easy feat. Most of our students work their way through college with minimal or no financial support from their families. The price of the conference ($650), the flight ($400), and the hostel ($300) is prohibitive.

The Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation have generously offered to underwrite $500 for each student. They have offered us an amazing opportunity.

Would you consider paying the registration or hostel for a student, or leveraging your air miles? Perhaps you have a friend or colleague who is going and can help. Hillel commits to preparing and following through with these students, funneling their enthusiasm and training into our iTeam and Israel advocacy.

Last year, Shachar Ben David attended the conference. She returned and became iTeam President. She has worked relentlessly during the past few months, challenging administration to be accountable. This is what she said about the AIPAC Summit:

"This conference strengthened my belief that Pro-Israel advocacy is not only important, but absolutely necessary if we wish to foster the relationship between the US and Israel, also on campuses, and the country at large."

Please let me know if you can help. My email is Our students at SF State are truly on the frontline of Israel advocacy, in a most difficult environment, and they are making us proud.

Happy New Year, 
Alon Shalev

Executive Director, San Francisco Hillel

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