Hillels and Israel: How Campus Jewish Communities Are Grappling with Polarizing Politics

By HANNAH BERNSTEIN for newvoices.org


This is part 1 in a 3-part series about politics, identity, and Jewish community on college campuses. 


On the eve of Rosh Hashanah in 2015, a new wave of violence arose in Israel. Often referred to as the “stabbing intifada,” it led to both Palestinian and Israeli deaths.

A world away, the American Jewish community was watching. Brooke Davies was beginning her junior year at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The local Students for Justice in Palestine organization was holding a vigil for the Palestinian victims who had died in the attacks. In solidarity as the chair of the local J Street U chapter, a pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian political organization, Davies decided to attend. She marked “Going” on Facebook.

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