On Sunday, February 10, 2019, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) presented a program on campus anti-Semitism to 35 parents and 20 high school seniors at the Bergen County High School of Jewish Studies (BCHSJS) in Bergen County, NJ. Offering a variety of courses on Sunday mornings, as well as a breadth of social and community service activities, BCHSJS encourages teens’ Jewish learning, builds their Jewish identity and love of Israel, and encourages their connections to other Jewish teens.
Alan Jay, Executive Director of the ZOA’s Northern New Jersey chapter, introduced the program, giving a brief history of the ZOA’s work in its more than 120-year history, as well as an overview of the ZOA’s work today – on campus, on Capitol Hill, in the courts, in educating young professionals, and in educating the media and the public about Israel and the challenges it faces. Susan Tuchman, Esq., Director of the ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, described the anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation that many Jewish students are facing on their college campuses today, and offered tools and strategies for effectively addressing these problems. Parents and students saw the problems first-hand when they watched a short excerpt of a full-length documentary called “Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance,” which was produced by Americans for Peace and Tolerance.
A spirited question-and-answer period followed the ZOA’s presentation. Many parents remained well after the program concluded to talk with Alan and Susan, share experiences, and ask questions.
The ZOA is deeply committed to educating the community about the anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing that can create a hostile environment for many Jewish students in their schools and on their college campuses, and to empowering students and their families with effective strategies and solutions. The ZOA has presented programs on campus anti-Semitism at BCHSJS in the past, and was proud to partner with this excellent school once again.