JCRC empowered me to speak about the antisemitism we are facing at school

Impact story - 2024 JCRC Annual Event

photo: Darrell Owens Photography

By Alex Stewart

June 2, 2024 – Since October 7th, there has been a 700% rise in antisemitism on American college campuses. Unfortunately, the University of Minnesota is not immune to the virus of antisemitism infecting campuses across the country.

I’ve had many high school seniors, some of whom may be your own children or grandchildren, ask me, “Alex, is it safe for me to come to the U as a Jewish student?” Sadly, I have not been able to give them a simple answer. 

On one hand, I had to consider the chalkings glorifying terrorists with guns and molotov cocktails… the celebration of Hamas as ‘resistance’…. professors canceling classes could join the pro-Hamas protests… calls for a “globalized intifada”, and the vilification of Zionism, which is a core part of my Jewish identity. And on the other hand, I do not want to scare these students away from the beautiful Jewish community on campus that we have built and have fought so fiercely to protect and grow.  

The community I have found at Minnesota Hillel has been essential to my college experience — especially at times like these, where antisemitism runs rampant and unchecked by university officials. 

My generation believes that we can change the world. And I’m sure that we can, for better or for worse. But the world is made up of smaller spheres where influence can be wielded.  

While serving as the Hillel Student President, I was able to lend my voice, my passion, and my energy to a cause that the JCRC champions in our community — combating antisemitism. However, when antisemitism began spiking on campus, the JCRC didn’t swoop in and take the reins away from the student leaders. Instead, they laid the groundwork for young people to lead and speak about our own experiences, while offering us their wisdom and guidance. 

Most prominently, the JCRC organized two press conferences where student voices were centered.  

JCRC empowered me, and young Jewish students like me, to speak to the media about the antisemitism we are facing at school, how it threatens our education, and how it puts our community in danger.  

JCRC helps us fight for a campus where Jewish students, faculty, and staff feel safe and comfortable expressing their Jewish identity, and that groups who celebrate Hamas’ torture, rape, death, and kidnapping of Israelis, will not be emboldened to further harass and marginalize Jewish and Israeli students. 

These challenges are not unique to the University of Minnesota – my peers at similar schools have experienced many of the same challenges we face here. However, I can confidently recommend the University of Minnesota to Jewish high schoolers because of our strong Jewish community on campus and in the wider Twin Cities. Because I know that JCRC will continue to be a partner in educating, advocating, and securing our community for the difficult road ahead.  

This impact story was delivered at the 2024 JCRC Annual Event – there is still time to donate


As the consensus public affairs voice of the Jewish community, JCRC builds relationships to fight antisemitism and bigotry; educates about Judaism, Israel, antisemitism, and the Holocaust; advocates for Jewish values and priorities; and safeguards our community.