The conditions faced by Jews at universities has been growing ever worse as the academic left becomes increasingly vociferous in its anti-Israel sentiment and so-called “pro-Palestinian” activists have taken to targeting Jews in their protests and demonstrations. At this year’s Jewish Leadership Conference, the recent college graduates Tamara Berens and Talia Katz spoke about the lessons they drew from their experiences at the frontlines. To Berens, the pivotal moment came after a violent anti-Zionist mob prevented a former Israeli official from giving a talk to the Israel club at King’s College, London. The administration’s response? To tell the Israel club that all future speakers would have to be vetted by the Palestinian club. She comments:
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At the time of Columbia University’s founding in 1784, notes Meir Soloviechik, the leader of the local synagogue, Gershom Mendes Seixas, was made a member of its board of regents. A Jewish student even gave a commencement address, composed by Seixas, in Hebrew. In the 20th century, Columbia attracted numerous Jews with the relaxation of quotas, and was the first secular university to create a chair in Jewish history. Barnard College, Columbia’s all-women’s school, was itself founded by a Jewish woman, and today has a large number of Orthodox Jewish students.