Jewish Students Need to Feel Safe

By: Talia Halstuch  |  November 20, 2023

By Talia Halstuch, Staff Writer

In the last few weeks, many atrocities have occurred on college campuses across the country. Jews are being attacked and threatened following the tragedy that took place on October 7 in Israel. It has been appalling to see the hatred many feel toward their Jewish classmates. Jewish students nationwide feel unsafe in their own schools, and there have been numerous situations in which the safety of Jewish students has been threatened at the hands of antisemites.

Recently, during a Palestinian protest at Cooper Union, Jewish students had to lock themselves into a library while protesters banged on the doors, shouting “Free Palestine!” The Jewish students had to call the police, unable to protect themselves from the mob on their own. This past week, at the University of Maryland, “Holocaust 2.0” was graffitied on campus. The footage posted also has students chanting “There is only one solution: intifada revolution.” A student at Cornell University was arrested for posting antisemitic threats to Jewish students online. He called for death to all Jews. One post of his discusses his plan to “shoot up 104 West,” a Kosher dining hall on campus. He also posted threats to stab and slit the throats of Jews. A number of Jewish University students have spoken out about the fear that they have being on campuses filled with such hate. There has been swastika graffiti, students hailing Hitler, and many calls for the eradication of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Many students have also been tearing down missing posters of the hostages.

The situation feels helpless, but there is much we can do, with the help of those in power. We need to persuade university leaders, as well as the American government, to put a plan in place in order to stop this violence and hate towards our people. 

I’ve heard my grandparents’ generation about the atrocities targeted towards Jews in the 20th century, but I never thought that we would be unsafe on college campuses in a modern democracy like the US. There have been numerous acts of violence towards our brothers and sisters simply because they are Jews. What does the future hold for Jewish students on college campuses? 

I personally believe that Jewish students should consider not attending schools in which they are not safe and at risk of facing antisemitism. Although it is a personal choice, being in an environment where you can be openly Jewish and not worry about violence or antisemitic attacks is incredibly important. When applying to colleges, we did not know that there would be such a drastic rise of antisemitism. Now that we have seen the horrific events on campuses, it is important for future generations to only go to schools in which they are safe and are free to be themselves. 

For now, we have many friends on college campuses who are living through antisemitism. As students of Yeshiva University, we are so fortunate to be on a campus filled with love and support for the Jewish Nation and the State of Israel. However, we see the atrocities happening to our friends and family on college campuses around the country. We can not just sit by and watch the pain and suffering: we must use our voices and speak up against this hate and violence.