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I left my elite university, and then war broke out

It may be winter break on American college campuses, but as soon as school is back in session, so is campus antisemitism. 

American University in Washington, D.C., has a notable reputation for being a great school for political science, international relations, and journalism pathways. It is also a very politically active university. 

As a Jewish college student, I was very involved with Hillel throughout my time at AU. I even led the very third Kabbalat Shabbat of the school year! However, as time went on, my academics, mental health, and social life were not great, and I ended up leaving American University after a semester, though I formally withdrew my enrollment last May. My current plan is to go back to school and, hopefully, go to school in Israel if I can. 

As campus antisemitism is at an all-time high, I have realized that the timing of my withdrawal was right, as I would not feel safe on AU’s campus at this very moment. Recently, during finals week at American University, AU Students for Justice in Palestine hosted a “die-in” outside the university’s holiday party. 

I feel grateful to not be in school, but I know and understand that others (including many people close to me) don’t have many options. Even as students are on winter break, many hateful infographics are still being spread like wildfire. There is a spark in me that wants and needs to help my friends in these tough situations, but I understand that only a check-in is simply all I can do.

Even though I left American University, students there who are still following me on Instagram have said some things that are pretty hateful and untrue that I have had to block them, along with many AU students that I had followed in the past I had seen post pretty hateful stuff. I also lost many followers because I am Jewish, but frankly, I do not care, because the more people hate us, the more Jewish we get, and I am proud of it. 

About the Author
Perri Schwartz is a student leader and writer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She is a 2021-2022 alumnus of the Young Judaea Year Course gap year. She interned with the Israel Daily News Podcast while on Year Course. She is also on the autism spectrum and is super passionate about current events shaping our society and making the world a better place.
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