The Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach County is hosting its second annual Israel Awareness Month at NSU to raise awareness for a cause close to their heart and inform the NSU community of Israeli culture.
Hillel is a foundation that promotes Jewish campus life at more than 550 colleges and universities throughout North America and the world.
Hadar Raveh, NSU director of Israel Programs and Engagement, said, “The purpose of Israel Awareness Month is to expose students to different aspects of Israel. It’s such a small country with a lot to offer.”
Coral Benshushan, freshman biology major and Israeli citizen, feels that students often have a false perception of Israel.
“I think that most Americans perceive Israel to be a war zone with bombs everywhere, danger, and terrorism,” he said.
Yet, Lindsey Goldstein, sophomore education major and vice president of NSU Hillel, has been to Israel three times and said, “I think that I felt more safe in Israel than I do here sometimes.”
Both Benshushan and Goldstein believe that students’ thoughts and opinions of Israel will change dramatically after attending the events at Israel Awareness month.
“Last year was our first year doing [Israel Awareness Month]. We didn’t really have a full committee or anything. It wasn’t as big as we’re making it this year,” Goldstein said.
Like last year, Hillel will host a session of Krav Maga, on Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. in an exercise room of the Don Taft University Center. Krav Maga is a form of Israeli self-defense that emphasizes instinctive movements and practical techniques. It is taught throughout the U.S. to both civilians and law enforcement agencies. Healthy foods, such as salad and fruit, will be served after the lesson.
Goldstein said, “We’re really trying to emphasize to people that just because you’re not Jewish, it doesn’t mean that you can’t help with this movement and help educate people.”
In addition, Hillel will be hosting “I-Fest,” in which NSU student groups will set up booths informing participants about Israel. The group with the best booth will win $150. I-Fest will be held on Feb. 19 at 11:30 p.m. in the Flight Deck in the Don Taft University Center. Middle Eastern foods, such as hummus and falafels will be provided. There will even be a falafel eating contest.
“This year we’re involving the fraternities,” Goldstein said. “We’re really making an effort to have that extended connection, so I’m really hoping that that will draw more attention.”
The final event will be a Shabbat dinner in the Don Taft University Center on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. Although Shabbat is a Jewish tradition, the dinner is open to students of all backgrounds and religions.
Benshushan said, “Shabbot can be described as a day of rest. It is meant to make you put work aside, kick up your feet, and eat all of the food that you can possibly handle. I don’t know of any people that would oppose such a thing”
Proceeds will be donated to Save a Child’s Heart, an Israel-based organization that has paid for more than 2,800 open heart surgeries worldwide.
Goldstein has a personal connection to SACH, as she had met some kids who have received open heart surgery thanks to the organization. She thinks that it’s “incredible” that Hillel is raising money for SACH and hopes that students will recognize Israel as one of the most technologically advanced countries in the Middle East.
“We’re also spreading awareness that there are organizations like this in Israel that are helping save the world,” Goldstein said.
For more information on this years Israel Awareness Month or how to get involved contact Sam Falk at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, like the Israel NSU facebook page for the latest updates on upcoming events.