Yehuda Lapian
Building bridges in Israel and supporting IDF veterans

Prestige Instead of Purpose: My Disappointing Journey at an Ivy League Seminar

Ever since I was a child, I had a dream of attending the best university in the world. I worked hard, read as much as I can and saved money by working as a waiter during three summers. Despite facing several rejections, I refused to give up. He­aring “no” only fueled my determination. Finally, in the summer of 2017, I received an acceptance to the Harvard negotiations seminar, and I proudly displayed the acceptance letter in my office in my top drawer. I couldn’t be more proud. However, after the congressional hearing on antisemitism with the Ivy League president’s on Dec’ 5, 2023, I threw the letter in the trash can. I couldn’t be more ashamed and felt that the leaders of the Ivy League universities had betrayed their Jewish students and especially betrayed their most important value: truth.

Graduation certificate from the 2017 seminar

Looking back to 2107, I had high hopes for the seminar. I was looking forward to participating in stimulating debates, learning from the best minds, and starting my journey by gaining knowledge from the most learned professors in the world. However, my experience did not meet my expectations. I was disappointed to discover that even though I did meet some impressive students and inspiring professors, most of the students I met didn’t know much about important topics and I was wondering if these students could be the next leaders of America. After the seminar, I realized that most of the professors and students around me were lack creativity and leadership skills. Yes there were a few very impressive students. However, most of the group were no leaders and creative thinkers. It was a huge disappointment.

The ivy League universities, which were once renowned for their pursuit of intellectual honesty, have now become enslaved to the concept of prestige. Rather than fostering a culture of genuine scholarship and curiosity, some of these institutions are now obsessed with rankings and endowments. Consequently, students are more concerned with how they look and feel and how many followers they have on Instagram rather than seeking truth and facts. By fostering critical thinking and meaningful discourse, the institutions can encourage their students to make a positive impact on society. They should motivate students to prioritize enlightenment over validation and create an environment that fosters intellectual growth.

The recent events and behavior of the students on Ivy League campuses have shown a true color and disturbing reality that there’s a deep problem in this universities. It seem that the students have no idea what they are shouting,  what they are shouting, who they are or what they really want. There are so many horrible things going on around the world, also in the us, some are much more related to these students than our conflict in Israel. To see their behavior makes me worried and disturb for the future of America’s Best University’s.

The decline of the Ivy League’s intellectual standards is a warning sign that prioritizing prestige over purpose can be dangerous. By being too focused on achieving a high status, these institutions may lose sight of their main goal: to educate and inspire future generations and leaders to make a positive impact on the world.

Radical Islam is not just about creating chaos and fear; it is also about slowly convincing people to support (and join) a radical religious lifestyle, to support what was once universally recognized as terrorism before October 7th. The institutions that were supposed to protect Jewish students and the truth have fallen into a coma of politically correctness. It is sad and disturbing to see so many Ivy League professors and students going on the wrong pass, being intellectually corrupted, some for money some for fame. If the University’s “leadership” don’t wake up from their intellectual coma, very soon they will face an intellectual nightmare.

About the Author
Yehuda Lapian is a community manager at the Peace of Mind program, working to support IDF veterans in their transition to a healthy civilian life. Formerly an advisor at the Knesset, he worked to strengthen the relationship between Israel and America and inspire influencers to learn the truth about Israel. Yehuda graduated from the Ma'ale Gilboa Yeshiva and Elul Program in "Beit Prat" and had the privilege of getting to know Rabbi Sacks Z"l, who motivated him to move to Tel Aviv and to stay in Israel and be connected to tradition. Yehuda recently completed 120 days of service in Gaza. Since returning, he's been speaking publicly at different demonstrations and TV channels about equal drafting in the IDF and helping post-traumatic veterans. A lover of books and movies, a competitor for the Israeli ice swimming team, and although usually losing, playing chess online.
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