Israel Advocacy News August 9, 2012: ‘StandWithUs’ Launches New Israel Advocacy Program for Teens

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

‘StandWithUs’ Launches New Israel Advocacy Program for Teens

Source: Arutz Sheva, 8-9-12

The pro-Israel education and advocacy group StandWithUs is launching a new program aimed at training teenagers from around the United States to become leaders on their future college campuses….READ MORE

StandWithUs launching new Israel advocacy training for teenagers

Source: The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A., 8-8-12

The pro-Israel education and advocacy group StandWithUs is launching a new program to help train 48 teenagers from around the U.S….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News April 19, 2012: With new class, University of California Berkley grad furthers her pro-Israel battle

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

With new class, Cal grad furthers her pro-Israel battle

Source: JWeekly, 4-19-12

At her upcoming workshops, co-leader Jessica Felber will stand before Jewish high school students, work herself up into a minor rage and harp about the Zionist entity being an apartheid state.

Not that she believes it.

The longtime pro-Israel advocate simply will be offering the students a taste of what may be in store for them once they get to college and face anti-Israel campus activism.

A 2010 graduate of U.C. Berkeley, Felber remembers what it was like for her and other Jewish students to endure the annual Israel Apartheid Week, when protestors carrying toy assault weapons set up mock checkpoints on campus.

That’s one reason she has helped organize “Step Up for Israel,” a series of three one-day pro-Israel education and advocacy training programs set to take place over the next month. The first is scheduled for Sunday, April 22 at Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland.

Jessica Felber

Jessica Felber

The workshops are co-sponsored by the pro-Israel advocacy organizations StandWithUs and JerusalemOnlineU.com.

After graduating from U.C. Berkeley, Felber moved to Los Angeles last year to become the West Coast director of Jerusalem Online U. This past February, she attended the Young Zionist Leadership Conference, a large gathering held in Florida and sponsored by the World Zionist Congress.

It was through her work with Jerusalem OnlineU, a Jewish education Web portal, that Felber dreamed up the workshop to teach high school students, especially seniors bound for college, how to respond to anti-Israel hate speech.

Each four-hour workshop will split into two tracks, one for the teens and another for their parents (or any other interested adult).

Sessions in each track will include lectures, educational film screenings and hands-on advocacy training taught by StandWithUs Bay Area campus staffers Guy Herschmann and Matthew White, along with prominent local pro-Israel activists Mike Harris and Ealon Joelson. Felber will run the teen portion.

As one teaching technique, workshop leaders will mimic the anti-Israel invective college students hear routinely on campus.

“We’ll show them Occupation 101,” said Felber. “This is so they can hear the arguments from anti-Israel people. The real purpose is to motivate and inspire them to learn more and give them practice before college.”

If Felber’s name sounds familiar, it’s because she was in the news before. In the wake of a 2010 incident during Israel Apartheid Week, Felber filed suit last year against U.C. Berkeley, its president and chancellor, as well as the Associated Students of the University of California.

At the time, she was co-president of the pro-Israel campus group Tikvah, which she co-founded.

Felber alleges that a pro-Palestinian protestor intentionally rammed her with a shopping cart, causing her injury.

The lawsuit has languished in the courts, with the judge dismissing some aspects and asking Felber’s attorneys to amend the complaint. But she says the suit is still in progress, and that she’s already seen results because of her legal action.

“This year at U.C. Berkeley’s Israel Apartheid Week, there were no realistic assault weapons,” she said, “which was not the case for a decade. That had been a huge cause of fear.”

Felber said that although she is suing for monetary damages, her true motivation for the suit is “to get the universities to be aware of what’s going on on campus and try to get them to change it.”

A native of San Diego, Felber grew up attending Jewish day schools, and pro-Israel advocacy was always important to her. Even before attending her first class at Cal, she says she was prepared for pro-Palestinian demonstrations on Sproul Plaza, the heckling of Israeli guest speakers and advocacy for Israel boycotts.

It was that tense and hostile atmosphere on campus that made her want to take up the pro-Israel cause all the more.

“That’s in part what drew me [to U.C. Berkeley],” she said. “I came in fairly confident, and was willing to stand up and defend Israel from the start. But I also know how difficult it is for other people to do that.”

Israel Advocacy News December 1, 2011: Bar-Ilan University rep promotes Israel program at Canadian High Schools

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Bar-Ilan rep promotes Israel program

Source: CJNews, 12-1-11

Meir Balofsky was in Toronto last month to promote Bar-Ilan University’s Israel Experience program

Meir Balofsky, the director of informal education at Bar-Ilan University, was in Toronto last week to convince graduating high school students of the value of learning and living abroad.

Balofsky, who visited students at the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto and Ulpanat Orot Day School, was promoting Bar-Ilan’s Israel Experience program.

“I think what people should do is recognize the value of taking a gap year after high school for themselves,” Balofsky said.

Although a gap year is traditionally thought of as a year away from traditional schooling – a chance for young people to work, travel and gain real-life experience – this program combines the benefits of an exchange program with an opportunity to live and work in a society so different from their own.

He said students who were raised in Jewish schools, were members of synagogues and youth groups and have “learned about Israel either from the Tanach or the news, should take a year and be in Israel, hands on, and experience it, and solidify everything you’ve learned.

“This program was born out of this idea that even kids who understood the value of going to Israel for a year weren’t going because they had no interest in spending the whole year in a yeshiva seminary,” Balofsky said….READ MORE