October 30, 2023
The Central Conference of American Rabbis is profoundly concerned about the welfare of Jewish students on North American college and university campuses. Even in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s brutal October 7 attack on Israeli civilians living near Gaza, anti-Israel demonstrations erupted on many campuses. Protests have increased as Israel has taken obligatory military action to assure that Hamas can never brutalize Israelis again. Too often, demonstrations have threatened the safety of Jewish students and have exposed protestors’ antisemitism.
Reform rabbis recognize that not all campuses or Jewish students are in crisis. The CCAR lauds those college and university leaders who have forthrightly condemned Hamas terror and any expression of antisemitism. We are appreciative of those who have taken concrete actions to support Jewish students in the last few weeks. Other officials have been deaf to the pleas of their Jewish students, faculty, staff members, and alumni, leaving the impression of indifference to terror and antisemitism.
The CCAR applauds its members who serve on college campuses and all who work to enhance Jewish life on campus. That work is always sacred and vital, but it is too often overlooked and devalued. Now, more than ever, our young adults on college campuses need the leadership, teaching, counseling, and support that campus rabbis are uniquely positioned to provide.
Reform rabbis, however and wherever we serve, are actively engaged in reaching out to college students in our orbits, checking in on their well-being and seeking to provide support, even from a distance. We pledge to continue to do so, and to continue to support our colleagues serving on campus. This crisis will be long and will only become more intense. Our college students and campus rabbis need our support now and in the coming weeks and years.
The CCAR calls on college and university leaders to declare unequivocally: Terrorism is never justified. Antisemitism will not be tolerated.
Rabbi Erica Asch, President
Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis