By Bina Davidson on behalf of Features Staff
Each month, the YU Observer aims to highlight one club available to the YU undergraduate community. For the March issue, the YU Observer is highlighting “Jewish Activism Club”
Club Name: Jewish Activism Club
Heads: Shayna Herszage
Relevant Campus(es): Wilf, Beren
What is your club’s mission statement?: We are a club that seeks to raise awareness for important social issues that pertain to the Jewish community. By educating students, we want to bring more unity and inclusiveness to the Jewish world.
Why is this club important?: Focusing on social justice issues within the Jewish community is important because, while we can often confront how these issues exist on a global scale, it is so important to also confront them in a place that is closer to home, so to speak. When we acknowledge that these issues are closer to us than we like to admit, we can begin to enact change.
What was your pull to get involved in/start the club?: I started this club with a friend (Phillip Nagler, YC ‘20) in my second semester at YU. We saw the politically active and socially active clubs on campus, and we wanted to form a club that would focus on these issues within the Jewish community, and without a politically affiliated agenda; we just wanted to perpetuate an agenda of equality and inclusion. It sounds cheesy, but that’s exactly the vision Phillip and I formed when we had our first meeting together about the club in the Brookdale lounge back in late 2018.
What are some things your club has done in the past?: We have worked to address a wide range of topics since starting the club. For example, we have addressed racism, misogyny, environmental issues, and homophobia, and how these topics all pertain to the Jewish community.
What are some plans you have for this semester/future semesters?: We have lots of topics and ideas in the works! One event for this March, in partnership with the YU Feminists Club, is a panel of “Monologues from the Makom” contributors who will be discussing their experiences in gendered spaces.
What is your favorite OSL-provided food for club events?: Pizza — it’s a classic!
With COVID, how is your club adjusting?: We do events fully online now. While I miss the aforementioned event pizzas, it is actually very convenient in a sense that we no longer need to worry about details like having speakers who are not from the New York area. Despite the many hardships, it’s nice that we’re able to have more diversity of speakers by not being limited to a local radius.
What is your advice to someone looking to get involved on campus?: If you’re passionate about something, don’t be afraid to take action about it! Starting a club in my second semester was daunting, but cultivating this club and what it stands for has been an incredible experience. Whether you are passionate about a hobby, a topic, or even a TV show, if you want to see more acknowledgement of it on campus, don’t wait around for someone else to enact the change you want to see. Why not you?
Anything else to say about your club: We thrive on community involvement! If there is a topic you are interested in seeing addressed, don’t be afraid to reach out!
Are you a YU undergraduate club head interested in seeing your club featured in a future edition? Email us at email@example.com with your club name and the names of the club heads!