Today, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (JFedLA), the central organization of Jewish Los Angeles, announced the launch of a critical new initiative – Campus Impact Network (CIN) – to help support Jewish college students across LA including major universities UCLA, USC, and CSUN.
Since the horrific terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7th, there has been an alarming increase in antisemitism around the world and across the United States. Antisemitism on U.S. college campuses has mirrored this trend, and reached epidemic level proportions, creating a threatening atmosphere for Jewish students. In the past few weeks, Jewish students on campuses across the U.S. have been bullied, harassed, and physically assaulted simply for being Jewish or for condemning terrorism. Anti-Israel campus groups have held rallies and protests demonizing Israel and supporting Hamas, further creating a hostile environment for Jewish students.
JFedLA recognized the immediate impact the crisis in Israel will have on the campus climate and the pressing demand for student support. The moment the war in Israel broke out, JFedLA quickly mobilized to meet the needs of LA’s campus communities. JFedLA’s staff has made onsite visits and collaborated with Hillel directors and staff, connected with students and attentively listened to their experiences, fears, and hopes, provided advice and guidance to students, and attended and supported student-led vigils and Israel events on campus.
“The current violence in Israel is impacting Jewish college students on frightening new levels. Our Jewish students are terrified. We are launching the Campus Impact Network to provide the urgent support and vital resources they need. We will not let our Jewish students live in fear and this network will strategically connect Jewish students across Los Angeles and train them to be leaders in fight for Jewish life,” said JFedLA President & CEO Rabbi Noah Farkas.
In addition to providing support in times of crisis, CIN aims to empower Jewish and like-minded student leaders to take an active role on campus in civic and Jewish issues, build coalitions with allies, promote a positive view of Israel on campus, and use their voices to elevate the Jewish experience on campus. Throughout the academic year, CIN will cultivate a network of Jewish student leaders on college campuses across the greater Los Angeles area and provide them with professional development opportunities, education, leadership training, community organizing tools, and opportunities for civic engagement. CIN will help Jewish student leaders build allies
and coalitions on campus to strengthen their advocacy efforts and enable effective community organizing.
The program will also allocate micro-grants to student leaders to organize programs and initiative on campus, in line with JFedLA’s priorities. CIN will work in coordination with the Hillels at the University of Southern California (USC), the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Santa Monica College, and Hillel 818, among others.
JFedLA has hired Jasmine Beroukhim, a recent graduate of UCLA, as the Sylvia Price Campus Impact Network Fellow. At UCLA, Jasmine served as Chair of Hillel International’s Israel Leadership Network. In this role, she developed best practices for advocacy and Israel education, and her leadership extended to over 100 campus leaders across the country. Jasmine also served as the President of Bruins for Israel, creating impactful campaigns and programming within the campus community.
Dan Gold, Executive Director at UCLA Hillel states, “We are grateful that the Federation is launching the Campus Impact Network. Now, more than ever, Jewish college students at UCLA and beyond are feeling isolated and that their identity is under attack. The freedoms and protections that are a staple of our colleges and universities and being taken advantage of by some to bring hate, anti-Zionism, and antisemitism unimpeded to the campus climate. The community organizing training and ongoing support from the Federation is a welcome addition for Hillels and our student leaders on campus.”
Dave Cohn, Executive Director at USC Hillel states, “Our students are facing ever-evolving challenges, fueled by a polarized political climate and amplified by a social media atmosphere that blurs and erases the traditional boundaries between our campuses. We are grateful for the partnership of the Federation and the Campus Impact Network as we develop effective shared strategies for education and advocacy to promote safe, thriving Jewish campus communities.”
Matt Baram, Executive Director at Hillel 818 states, “In the aftermath of the October 7th terrorist attack and war in Gaza, Jewish students at CSUN are in mourning, fearful, confused, and full of anxiety. They are looking for community, mentorship, education, and ways to help. The Campus Impact Network is a vital partner, especially in these unprecedented times, providing needed resources, consultations, and trainings that will help us better meet our students’ needs.”
For more information and interviews, please contact Aram Goldberg, VP of Public Relations & Media Strategy at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles at AFGoldberg@JewishLA.org
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is the central organization of Jewish Los Angeles. We meet our community’s needs and make our voices heard on issues ranging from antisemitism to social services to ensuring a strong Jewish future. We care for our most vulnerable, connect with and support the people of Israel and Jews around the world, and actively engage in Los Angeles civic life to build bridges with other communities.