August 3, 2021

The Jewish Federation of San Antonio’s Young Adult Division (YAD) and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), teamed up this summer to offer Jewish young adults in San Antonio an opportunity to learn about Israel and to discuss the current wave of antisemitism. Over the course of three sessions, young adults gained a broader understanding of the Israel-Hamas conflict, antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and practiced how to apply this knowledge to
have productive conversations. The first session, entitled “Israel: How did our past lead to our present? Its history and modern struggles,” was led by guest speaker Nammie Ichilov, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation. This session provided young adults with more context into the complexities of Israel’s history and how that compares to what is often portrayed in the media.

In the second session, Rabbi Yoel Lax, city director of NCSY, discussed “Antisemitism, anti-Zionism, the BDS movement, and delegitimizing Israel.” Rabbi Lax explained the origins of antisemitism and gave several examples of the “first” antisemites straight from the Torah. Participants had a lively discussion and shared their firsthand experiences with antisemitism.

Rob Eichelbaum, an attorney and adjunct professor at St. Mary’s School of Law, presented the third session on, “How to have effective, meaningful, and productive conversations about Israel.” Utilizing his 25 years of experience in conflict resolution, Rob engaged the participants in various exercises, emphasizing the importance of first understanding your own position and actively listening to the other side. The importance of this series was not lost on those who attended. Not only did participants gain a deeper understanding of the conflict, one participant noted that “The JCRC/YAD series was a success because it brought together young adults from all parts of San Antonio to discuss Israel!”

 

To learn more about the JCRC, contact Lisa Epstein, JCRC Director, at epsteinL@jfsatx.org.

If you are a young adult looking to get more involved, contact Anna Schragin, Development Specialist, at schraginA@jfsatx.org.

 

*This article was featured on pages 8 – 9 in the Jewish Journal Rosh Hashanah print edition.