Rebekah Mann is this year’s president of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) at Kennesaw State University. As a junior studying Business Management and being a volleyball coach, she is constantly working on bettering the SSI chapter at her campus, and promoting education regarding the state of Israel.
Rebekah got involved on campus and joined SSI soon after she heard about the pro-Israel group on Kennesaw State’s campus. When interviewing her, she and her board had just finished a tabling, working on spreading the word as much as they can. “I came to Kennesaw and had a passion for Israel, and I really wanted to get involved with activism, so when I heard about SSI and the opportunities it provided I thought it was so amazing. I loved how there were so many students all over the nation that were as passionate as me about what we were doing”.
Rebekah has always felt a connection to Israel, and the home of the Jewish people is something that drives her passion in advocacy, “Being Jewish myself comes with a strong identity, and it’s really beautiful to me that so many Jews are returning to their homeland. It’s my peoples home, and that fact has never been lost upon me”.
The climate at Kennesaw State is very apathetic, and Rebekah says that, “generally speaking, they don’t care enough to bother with the topic of Israel”.
At their Krav Maga event, they had an ex-IDF soldier come and talk about Israel and do a Krav Maga workshop, “It was very successful, and the reason I say that is because there was a guy that came up to our tabling event that wasn’t open to the idea. When we started the event, I saw him walking by and invited him to come join. He came and he stayed an hour after talking to the Krav Maga instructor. They were hugging and he obviously had so much respect for the Krav Maga instructor. I think the event had a lot of quality and substance to it and we were able to see that based off of all the interest we saw during and after the event”.
Rebekah would like to see more passion and interest from students at her campus, “at least wanting to know more and gain ore information. Our generation is very non-committal, so people will approach us at tablings showing their interest, but when it comes down to it, we don’t always see them showing up to the actual events”.
SSI has impacted Rebekah in many ways, “I think Ilan does an incredible job of being very personal to all members of SSI across the nation. It’s really incredible to know how much support we have, and I definitely feel it with him and Elan Chargo being so involved. There is a huge sense of community, and they really foster that”. Aside from that, she was able to use SSI to learn more about the conflict, and use the leadership position to grow her skills, “SSI really sets you up with the skills to be successful throughout your life”.
Ten years from now, Rebekah sees herself married with kids, “who hopefully speak Hebrew. Maybe I’ll be in Israel, coaching volleyball, and being an advocate for Israel”.
Rebekah’s advice to the members of SSI across the country would be to, “know that you have support. Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to Ilan and message people from other chapters, recognize the support you have, and use it to create more unity and passion because we are all a part of the same goal. Don’t lose sight of the big goal when things get frustrating. Know that other people have struggled with the same things that you have, and know that you have the support you need.”