Samantha Kahn
A millennial, Zionist, reform Rabbi
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Help your university invest in Israel

It’s easy just to pull our donations. It’s harder to try to influence the administration. Here's one way to do just that
Picture of UF students donating an Israel Bonds investment to the University of Florida in 2004.
Rabbi Kahn with other UF students donating an Israel Bonds investment to the University of Florida in 2004.

“I used to think our conservative friends were a little crazy, but now I see they were right… universities and institutions of higher education HAVE become a breeding ground for a scary new antizionism rooted in antisemitism.”  My husband repeated this to me earlier this week while reading articles about the situation on American college campuses.  

As someone who spent my college years deeply devoted to Israel advocacy on campus, I, too, have been watching with horror and wondering, How did we fail so badly? And even more importantly, what can we do now???

There is a lot that needs to happen,  and many people need to be involved – but right now, I want to discuss one thing the average American Jew can do to influence these institutions of higher learning. Yes, based on my own experience of Israel campus advocacy from twenty years ago, I have an easy, three-step suggestion for all those American Jews who want to learn more about a University’s Israel approach before continuing to support them financially.

Step 1: Instead of donating to your university directly, use that money to purchase Israel bonds (as lots of people have been doing lately).

Step 2: Contact the university to let them know their continued support of Jewish students and investment in Israel is very important to you.

Step 3: Donate the Israel bonds to the university if you feel heard and supported. This will help them financially and create a situation where they actively invest in the State of Israel. 

I’m serious. 

When members of the BDS movement petitioned my university to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel, my impressive group of friends and I, with the guidance of our campus Hillel staff, decided to do precisely this.  I can tell you the University of Florida has been actively investing in the State of Israel since at least 2004 when they accepted our large donation of an Israel bond, and today, UF remains one of the safest college campuses for Jewish students.  

It’s easy just to pull our donations. It’s harder to try to influence the administration. 

If you can get your institutions to accept donations in the form of Israel bonds, you can help ensure they are (at some fundamental level) invested in the Jewish State. Furthermore, if they refuse to accept the donation, you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are not deserving of your money and probably not a safe place for Jewish students. 

Will this solve all our problems? No. Unfortunately, it will not. The issues are vast and troubling. The place of Israel in institutions of higher education is so alarming that I have even heard rumblings of rabbinic schools accepting students who self-identify as antizionists (go ahead and click that follow button and stay tuned if you are interested in reading my upcoming response on this). We are living in a world that feels incomprehensible. This is a straightforward way to get to the bottom of your university’s Israel policies. You can invest in the state of Israel while simultaneously investing in a better, more Israel-friendly campus environment.

About the Author
Rabbi Samantha Kahn strives to instill Jewish excitement, provide guidance, offer counsel, and uncover Jewish passions for all. Kahn is a meaning-seeker, equality endorser, bigotry opposer, mindfulness advocate, social justice champion, and long-time Israel lover. She can also be found on many social media forums, including on TikTok @prettyflyforarabbi. She is a member of the inaugural cohort of the Amplify Israel Rabbinic Fellowship of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. Rabbi Kahn is honored to serve Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, Florida, as its senior associate rabbi.
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