A Spotlight on the Jewish Student Union

Members of JSU celebrating Hanukkah together at the clubs Hanukkah party.
Members of JSU celebrating Hanukkah together at the club’s Hanukkah party.
Bella Pianko

The Jewish Student Union (JSU) at Mamaroneck High School is an established club that transcends boundaries, providing a space where students of all faiths can come together to celebrate and learn about Jewish culture. The idea for JSU arose during the summer when Annikah Lee, Hannah Mehler, Emma Post, and Bella Pianko were organizing a Kristallnacht remembrance event. They recognized the importance of uniting their community members and educating others about Judaism.

Acknowledging that only 0.2% of the world’s population identifies as Jewish, the founders of JSU understood the need to create an environment for those who identify as Jewish or wish to support this religious minority. The club emphasizes education and celebration as ways to counter misinformation surrounding Judaism and address the history of hatred and anti-Semitism.

JSU also acknowledges the impact of anti-Semitism on college campuses, causing concern among students. While not directly discussing specific events, it is crucial to acknowledge that there has been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents at universities. These incidents include vandalism of centers and attacks targeting Jewish students. Some Jewish students are even reconsidering their college choices due to safety concerns, underscoring the need for education and awareness.

JSU recognizes the challenges ahead and views them as an opportunity to educate people, regardless of their background, about anti-Semitism and its possible outcomes. The club’s objective is to provide students with insights into the realities of anti-Semitism, particularly as they transition into college settings where such incidents may arise. JSU plans events featuring Holocaust survivors and those who have been affected by anti-Semitism to educate and discuss these problems. They are even working with the administration to hopefully create programming on Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) to further educate the student body.

JSU’s main objective revolves around dispelling stereotypes and correcting misconceptions about Judaism through engaging and inclusive events. The club aims to create a space for open dialogue, educating individuals about the true essence of Judaism. As an example, JSU organized a Hanukkah party on December 13th, inviting the entire school to join in the festivities, enjoy Hanukkah food favorites, participate in dreidel games, and gain insights into the Festival of Lights.

The JSU Club at Mamaroneck High School stands as evidence of the impactful combination of unity, understanding, and education in addressing anti-Semitism. By nurturing a community that values diversity and challenges stereotypes, JSU not only enhances the lives of its members but also contributes to a broader discussion on tolerance and acceptance globally. As the club expands, its unwavering commitment to education and inclusivity serves as an inspiring model for others, encouraging collective efforts against discrimination and prejudice.

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