Over 100 members of the Stanford neighborhood gathered to have a good time at a Passover Shabbat dinner organized by Hillel on Friday, with Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne delivering remarks in a present of assist of the Jewish neighborhood.
The dinner, held at Hillel, occurred days after an incident during which the mezuzah of a Jewish undergraduate scholar was damaged and faraway from their dorm room door. This incident is one in a sequence of antisemitic occasions which have occurred on Stanford campus this 12 months.
Rabbi Jessica Kirschner, at the moment the Stanford Hillel govt director, despatched an e-mail to members of the Stanford Jewish neighborhood in response to the incident during which she affirmed that “we’re a powerful and resilient folks, and a part of how we face challenges is by coming collectively.” Later within the e-mail, she referred to the dinner as “an awesome alternative to share your actuality — the highs and lows — as a Jewish scholar on campus with an essential campus decision-maker and culture-setter.”
These in attendance at Friday’s dinner have been primarily college students concerned in several Jewish neighborhood areas on campus, such because the Jewish College students Affiliation (JSA), Jewish Enterprise College students Affiliation (JBSA) and the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi).
Tessier-Lavigne started his remarks by saying of him and his spouse, who was additionally in attendance, “We’re particularly privileged to be right here throughout Passover. We bear in mind the liberating of the Israelites from slavery in historic Egypt. It’s a story of religion and neighborhood, overcome adversity, and people are themes that are very well timed as we speak.”
Themes of celebration, triumph and variety have been echoed all through the supply of his remarks. He additionally introduced consideration to the sequence of antisemitic incidents on campus, referring to the incident earlier within the week and a separate occasion of a Jewish undergraduate’s door being vandalized with antisemitic drawings.
“I wish to make it very clear that we are going to not tolerate antisemitism and the symbols of anti-semitism right here on campus,” Tessier-Lavigne mentioned. “It’s one thing we have to eradicate.”
Tessier-Lavigne straight talked about Hillel and the JSA for his or her roles in enriching Stanford as an entire. He characterised himself and the college administration extra broadly as being “particularly grateful to have a powerful Hillel and powerful Jewish Scholar Affiliation who construct neighborhood, connection and a way of belonging who enrich our total college neighborhood as properly.”
Paloma Aisenberg ’23 mentioned that this present of assist from Tessier-Lavigne and his presence on the occasion resonated together with her, particularly within the wake of antisemitic incidents on campus.
“It’s actually essential to know that the administration cares and that they’re right here for all of their college students,” she mentioned. “It’s simply so essential that MTL comes and reveals up and helps us and all the lovely and numerous and superb communities throughout Stanford’s campus.”
Tessier-Lavigne engaged in dialogue with quite a few folks current. Kirschner says that she hoped this may “lower the space between the best ranges of administration on the college and the day-to-day lived experiences of scholars.”
“One of many issues I’ve heard from college students over the previous few years, notably as problems with antisemitism, each within the tradition extra broadly and in our expertise right here straight on campus, have elevated, [are concerns] about not being seen,” Kirschner mentioned.
In celebrating Passover after a sequence of antisemitic occasions, Aisenberg mirrored on the vacation, centering its celebratory and supportive nature.
“Passover is a vacation of celebrating freedom, freedom from being slaves in Egypt, and it’s a joyous vacation,” Aisenberg mentioned. “It’s a celebration. It’s remembering to face up for what you consider in, for what’s proper, standing up for others, your self, your neighborhood and different communities.”
In regards to the celebration of Passover extra deeply, Kirschner mentioned, “It’s an train in storytelling and collective storytelling. In determining easy methods to have interaction folks in an historic expertise as if it was one thing that we have been residing via this second, that’s an unimaginable factor to have the ability to do.”