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Learn how to respond to campus anti-Semitism March 22 in Swampscott

MARCH 8, 2018 – The Campus Anti-Semitism Task Force of the North Shore, a nonprofit established to provide awareness, education, and support to college students and their families, will hold a free event, “What’s Up at College: How to Identify and Respond to Campus Anti-Semitism,” on Thursday, March 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Congregation Shirat Hayam, 55 Atlantic Ave., Swampscott.

The interactive training session will be led by Arinne Braverman, former Hillel director at Northeastern University, who has significant experience helping students respond and protect themselves if they encounter anti-Semitism on campus. The program will start with a discussion of the US State Department definition of anti-Semitism followed by offering students a range of scenarios – some subtle and some more obvious – to help those in attendance identify possible responses.

“On the North Shore, we’ve seen the rise of anti-Semitic vandalism and a neo-Nazi protest with torches on the UVA campus in Charlottesville last year,” said Michael Ragozin, rabbi at Congregation Shirat Hayam and the president of the Campus Anti-Semitism Task Force of the North Shore. “But on many college campuses, incidents of anti-Semitism can often be much more personal and subtle, leaving students to wonder if what they just saw or experienced was anti-Semitic or not.

“Often times, because they’ve never experienced it before, Jewish students tend to not say anything, they don’t report it, they don’t discuss it, and they feel more isolated and vulnerable,” the rabbi added. “This program is designed to help them understand what is or is not anti-Semitism and to help them figure out ways to respond appropriately.”

Examples of anti-Semitism can include: targeting Jewish students for wearing Jewish symbols; interrupting the observance of Jewish holidays; bullying and demeaning Jewish students for being Jewish; isolating and preventing them for supporting causes; and assigning responsibility for Israel’s actions to American Jews.

The goal of the task force is to raise awareness, to educate, and to help college students advocate for themselves on campus.

“It’s unfortunate that we need to provide this kind of training – to help identify and respond to bigotry and hatred aimed at Jewish students – but we feel it is important to prepare students,” Rabbi Ragozin said. “This event is part of our ongoing goal to prepare college-bound students.”

The event is free, open to teens approaching college age, and includes dinner. To register, go to bit.ly/CAST-Training by March 15.

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