Overview of Events that Developed Over Passover

The following update is adapted from a message from Eric D. Fingerhut, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Jewish Federations of North America

As Passover began, world events heated up!  On the positive side, the United States Congress achieved final passage of the legislation which included $17B in emergency military aid for Israel, as well as $400M in supplemental emergency funding for the Non-Profit Security Grant Program. In addition, we are also making great progress on advancing the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which we have championed.

Thank you all for your important communications with lawmakers on these priorities. And, while deeply disturbing and exploitative, the Hamas video including Hersch Goldberg-Polin brought us welcome confirmation that Hersch remains alive.  May he and all the hostages be released immediately to the care and love of their families.

On the negative side, campus protests exploded with the particularly awful display at Columbia Uiversity. Columbia has now been followed by a growing series of new protest “encampments” across the higher education landscape. These obviously well-funded and externally coordinated activities are dangerous and threatening to Jewish students. Federations across North America are being called upon to provide strong leadership to protect our students.

We are here to support the local community, including, as a starting point:

  • The Jewish Federations of North America has released this statement. Feel free to share this among your personal contacts. 
  • We encourage you to send a letter to the leaders of Rutgers, where we have seen a great deal of anti-Israel and antisemitic activity. See sample letter below and copy to these leaders:
  • We will host a webinar open to your entire community after Pesach. Stay tuned for details. 
  • Our Federation's Security Initiatives has reviewed community security procedures and continues to consult with local, county, state, and campus police.
  • We have been in touch with major Jewish campus groups - Hillel, Chabad, and others, to coordinate with them around ongoing messaging and outreach. 

As always, thank you for all you are doing to keep our community strong and united.

May we know only peace and safety.

Susan Antman, Executive Director, Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey


Dear Rutgers University [President Holloway] [Chancellor Conway],

In light of the recent wave of anti-Israel and antisemitic protests across college and university campuses, we are writing to you today to encourage immediate and proactive action to ensure the safety and well-being of Jewish students at your academic institution.

The current climate of intolerance and discrimination targeting Jewish students cannot be ignored. These hateful acts not only violate the principles of cultural and religious diversity that universities cherish, but also create a hostile environment that threatens the physical and emotional security of Jewish individuals on your campus.

We urge you to take a strong stance against antisemitism and anti-Israel bias by implementing or enforcing your clear policies that condemn discriminatory and violent behavior. Strong security measures must be enhanced or implemented to prevent incidents of harassment, vandalism, and intimidation directed at Jewish individuals and organizations. Furthermore, we call upon you to collaborate closely with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators of antisemitic acts are held accountable and that Jewish students can pursue their studies without fear of discrimination or violence.  Non-campus actors should be excluded from all campus protest activity, and protests should be prohibited from targeting known Jewish locations, student groups, and individuals, including Jewish facilities such as Hillel and Chabad centers, Jewish Greek life buildings, and other locations where Jews congregate together as a community.

As a leader of Rutgers University, you have a responsibility to foster a culture of understanding, tolerance, and respect among your students and staff. We trust that you will take swift and decisive action to address the challenges posed by any antisemitic and anti-Israel protests on your campus, and we stand ready to work with you in promoting a safe and inclusive environment for all.

Our community's Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ welcomes the opportunity to discuss these issues further and stands ready to assist you in implementing these approaches. To connect with Jewish Federation, contact Susan Antman, Executive Director, at 732-588-1800 or info@jewishheartnj.org. 


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