UCLA Student Rachel Beyda Meets with President Obama
President Obama met with student leader Rachel Beyda this morning as the White House turns its attention to Jewish Heritage Month and the rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses.
The President recently made a connection in the Atlantic between his own identity and his support for Jewish human-rights and self-determination:
"To me, being pro-Israel and pro-Jewish is part and parcel with the values that I've been fighting for since I was politically conscious and started getting involved in politics. There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law."
Ms. Beyda shared that:
“Challenges such as my own have only made my Jewish identity, and the identities of Jews throughout history, stronger. This month, Jews and non-Jews alike come together to celebrate all that we as a Jewish people have overcome, and the positive contributions that American Jews make to society every day.”
Hillel at UCLA congratulates the White House and Ms. Beyda for connecting and encouraging new relationships focused on repair and shared purpose. We view the events this morning as a dramatic step in the right direction and hope to bring this positive momentum to campus!
You can read more about Rachel and National Jewish American Heritage Month at whitehouse.gov.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Aaron Lerner
Incoming Executive Director, July 2015
Simha & Sara Lainer Senior Jewish Educator
Photo credit: Emily Berl, The New York Times