College is generally an enriching and life-enhancing experience, thanks to the rich diversity of students, life experience, and belief systems present on most campuses. But sometimes, differing political beliefs can lead to personal doubt or tension with peers, especially in the current hostile environment towards Israel that exists today in more liberal academic institutions.
Recognizing this, Jewish Student Union (JSU) of Los Angeles is sponsoring a class teaching soon-to-be college students how to be effective speakers and advocates for the state of Israel. It will be held this Sunday, June 14, from 12:00-2:00 p.m., at 4850 Whitsett Avenue, Apartment 10, Valley Village, LA 91607. The speaker will be Derek Gormin, Director of Education at the LA JSU. With locations throughout the United States, JSU facilitates regular club meetings in public schools that meet during the lunch hour or before or after school, providing kosher food and lessons on Jewish heritage and tradition.
Mr. Gormin is the former president of AEII – The Jewish Fraternity, and president of Hillel on University of California, Irvine’s campus. UC Irvine is notorious for its anti-Israel rallies and rhetoric that repeatedly denigrates Zionism and Israel.
He declared, “The presentation will focus only initially on the negativity future college students may encounter on campus. After that is addressed, I will then focus more on the positivity that can result from encountering anti-Israel sentiment, which is the development of a strong Jewish identity. Often, when they first arrive on campus, students with less-than-strong Jewish backgrounds are scared to see the hateful things that can be said against Israel and Judaism on secular college campuses. It is my aim to strengthen their resolve and their ties to their heritage so that they can stand up to those who challenge them.”
Rabbi Effie Goldberg, Regional Director of West Coast NCSY and JSU, stated, “The first day of college is an exciting yet frightening time for many teens, and a vulnerable time where they might be caught off-guard in the face on anti-Israel rhetoric on campus. We feel the need to educate and show them the worst in order to prepare them to become more proactive about standing up for their country and culture. Derek Gormin will share his experiences and teach some tools and techniques of how to be prepared and effective for Israel on campus.”
The event is free of charge. To register, contact 310-229-9000, ext. 209.