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Posted by inkstainedhands in , , , , ,

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.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 25, 2011 at Friday, February 25, 2011 and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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