Narrow Miss  

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There was an article in the Jewish Press at the beginning of the month about a controversial anti-Israel professor in Brooklyn College being reinstated after being told that he cannot teach at the college because he would not be able to present the seminar on Middle East politics in a fair and unbiased manner. This is not the first time I have read about tension in Brooklyn College between anti-Israel professors and students and the pro-Israel Jewish students. At the beginning of the academic year, a number of my friends were complaining about being assigned to read Moustafa Bayoumi's pro-Palestinian book, How Does It Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America. This book was required reading for all incoming freshman, making many Jewish students feel uncomfortable. Anti-Israel feelings are nothing new when it comes to Brooklyn College.

Two years ago, I was sure that I would be going to Brooklyn College. That was the only college I was planning on applying to. Now, when I am in Stern College and reading/hearing all these things about life in Brooklyn College, I feel so relieved and fortunate that I am in Stern. I am truly grateful that there is a college where Jewish students do not have to worry about anti-Israel professors or events or sentiments. It is a safe place where students can flourish, focus on their Jewish identity, and be able to learn from each other and grow. Being here has helped me appreciate what it means to be a thinking, practicing Jew without being made to feel uncomfortable for it.

I have many friends who are in Brooklyn College right now, and one who is an active advocate for Israel. Her strength and determination amaze me because she doesn't back down and isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in. If I was a student at Brooklyn College, I don't know if I would be able to have that kind of strength. I would probably just go to my classes, do my work, and not be involved in campus life any more than I absolutely had to.

I believe that Stern is definitely the right place for me, because I can be involved on campus, I can feel part of everything that is going on, and I feel safe to explore my identity in an open, warm, encouraging environment where everyone is in the same boat.

Worlds... The Transition from High School to College  

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The Jewish Press recently published a piece I wrote, which was inspired by my transition from a high school student to a college student studying in the heart of Manhattan.

Read it here.

Hurrah for YU!  

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Since I started the spring semester I haven't had much time to blog, since I was kept quite busy by a heavy load of classes and a liberal amount of extracurricular activities. Barely having a moment to breathe has its advantages though, and I think I like it, despite the sleep deprivation and all. When there is so much to do and so little time, you don't stop to think and you don't have time to waste on complaining and feeling down. You just have to jump straight into it and work, work, work, juggling multiple projects and assignments and trying to accomplish everything in the short amount of time given. Sometimes I wonder why I take on so many things at once if my free time is almost inexistent as it is, but I think I know the answer.... It makes me feel like I am accomplishing something, and that gives me encouragement and motivates me to do more and to achieve more. All of the experiences are rewarding, and I want to make the most of my four years in Stern.

And then, in addition to all of my usual activities and responsibilities, I often dedicate my evenings to various events on campus. It's shaping up to be a pretty busy month already! Here are some of the things that have been going on....

On Monday, February 7th, Rabbi Natan Slifkin came to speak a nearly full audience of Yeshiva University students about heresy and what it is. I found it very interesting and am grateful to the students who organized this event. I love it when such awesome things as this happen at YU. You can learn more about Rabbi Slifkin on his website or by reading his blog.

Another thing that has been happening at YU is the Seforim Sale -- a book-lover's heaven that is advertised as "the largest Jewish book sale in North America." It is open until February 27th, and the hours are on their website. Seriously, every Jew living in the NY area should visit the Seforim Sale at least once. They have a large catalog of books, seforim, and CDs, and the prices are much lower than in regular bookstores. I've already been there twice this month and hope to go at least twice more before it is over. I will hopefully be there doing something on February 21st and 23rd, so come over and say hi.

What made the sale even more awesome today was a performance by the acapella group Six13. Of all the Jewish groups out there, Six13 has been my favorite for years so seeing them perform live was rather exciting.

Also, a new exhibit by Sebastian Mendes called "There is a Mirror in My Heart: Reflections on a Righteous Grandfather" opened at the Yeshiva University Museum, in addition to the Ruth Schreiber "Letters from my Grandparents" exhibit that opened last month. The Zero to Ten: Decades gallery is also open, with many fascinating things on display. I am IY"H going to be giving a short tour through the museum on Sunday, February 27th at 2 PM, so feel free to stop by! Entrance is free for YU students with ID.

As you can see, there are many exciting things going on now and never a dull moment, B"H. It's all good!