7 Ways to Help Your College Kid Confidently Support Israel on Campus
There’s so much to do to prepare our children for college — from submitting applications to knowing how to combat anti-Israel sentiment on campus. While anti-Israel sentiment may feel intimidating and hateful, you can empower your children to combat it in intelligent, measured, and even fun and social ways.
1. Share Your Israel Story
We believe that women are able to influence their families most of all, and that begins with your words and with your actions. You’ve already shown your family how important Israel is to you by participating in a MOMentum Trip. Now, it’s time to share your Israel experiences with them. Tell them what you saw, who you met, and what touched you. Spark their interest in the country, and get them excited to learn more.
2. Connect Your Children to the Same Organizations that Educated You
In Israel, you participated in a Jerusalem U Israel advocacy educational session, and received Israel advocacy materials, created in partnership with StandWithUs. Both organizations work with college students, too, distributing educational videos and other resources, and hosting training fellowships, conferences, and more. These organizations will educate your children about Israel, arming them with knowledge that will transform them into confident Israel supporters. As Lori Palatnik says, “Ignorance is not bliss, knowledge is bliss.”
3. Attend the AIPAC Policy Conference Together
The AIPAC Policy Conference is the biggest annual Israel advocacy event, bringing together 18,000 people — including 4,000 college students — to support Israel. The conference includes lectures by top Israel experts, panels with renowned journalists, Israel advocacy training sessions, speeches by high profile American and Israeli politicians, a musical performance, and opportunities to connect with thousands of pro-Israel community members. Attending with your children is a great way to introduce them to the massive pro-Israel community and to show them that they are not alone.
4. Read English-Language Israeli Newspapers Together
Today, staying up-to-date on Israel’s current events is easier than ever before. The Jerusalem Post has been publishing local Israeli news for an English-speaking audience for almost 100 years. The Times of Israel, a sleek newcomer to the scene, offers a fantastic overview of day-to-day Israel, as well as various perspectives on Israel’s current events thanks to its many of bloggers. JTA, a Jewish wire service, publishes briefs and feature articles about Israel that Diaspora Jews may find most interesting. No Camels posts news about Israeli innovations and startups. Send your children articles that you find interesting, and begin family email discussions. Of course, your children may find it most efficient to follow these publications on social media.
5. Keep in Touch with Your Israeli JWRP Sisters
One of the best ways to understand daily life in Israel is by speaking to locals. We learned this on our MOMentum Trips while spending time with our Israeli JWRP sisters. Continue to keep in touch with your Israeli sisters, and ask them for their insights on Israeli current events. Connect your children to their children, so that they forge their own friendships, share perspectives, and eventually, meet each other face-to-face in Israel.
6. Encourage Involvement in Campus Jewish Organizations
Hillel, Chabad, and other campus Jewish organizations offer students extracurricular clubs and events dedicated to learning about, defending, and celebrating Israel alongside other students. Many Hillels also have an Israeli emissary on staff who can help guide students in understanding Israeli life and culture.
7. Send Your Child to Israel
Give your child the life-changing experience that you had by encouraging them to travel to Israel. Not only will they see Israel for themselves, but they’ll do so alongside other Jewish students from all over the world. If they can only get away for a short time, urge them to participate in Taglit-Birthright Israel, the free 10 day Israel trip, which will shuttle them all over the country, showing them Israel’s highlights. Onward Israel offers college students two-month professional internships in Israel, as well as trips and meetings with Israeli peers. Masa Israel Journey runs over 200 highly-subsidized programs in Israel that meet any interest, and include gap year, study abroad, and post-college programs.