Text by Alex Jakubowksi, Executive Director DoJAS
This week marked the first EU Activism Seminar in Brussels, hosted by DoJAS, B’Nai B’Rith International, B'nai B'rith Europe and the European Union of Jewish Students. 10 North American, Jewish study-abroad students, along with 10 European Jewish students from across Europe gathered together to learn about critical issues facing the Jewish community in Europe. The students met with renowned experts, heard from critical decision-makers, and lobbied members of the European Parliament and European Commission on ways to address the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe.
Among the many influential and high-level officials with whom students met were Director of the Lombardy Regional Representation to the EU, Gianlorenzo Martini, Member of European Parliament and Chair of the EU Working Group on Anti-Semitism Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Member of the European Parliament Csaba Sogor, The European Commision’s Coordinator for Dialogue with Churches, Religions, Philosophical, and non-Confessional Organizations Katherina von Schnurbein, as well as staff members for various other MEP’s, Commissioners, NGO’s, and lobbyists.
In addition to their time at the Parliament and Commission, students listened to a presentation by B'nai B'rith Europe president Erika van Gelder, and discussed the ongoing developments with regards to anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity in their native and host countries. Drawing upon each others’ experiences at home and abroad, students discussed ways they could bring the lessons they learned at the Seminar back home to their communities, spurring greater efforts to address issues of critical importance to the Jewish community.
As students arrive in their host countries for their semester abroad, the seminar’s American participants are looking forward to their new role as leaders in their communities. “I learned much more than I could have imagined, and I have already begun to share my learnings with friends and family, both within the EU and all over the world,” said Jeremy Levin, who has returned to his host community in Madrid.
In particular, we want to thank B’Nai B’Rith International, B’Nai B’Rith Europe, and Irving Silver for their generous support of this seminar, and much of the work of DoJAS abroad.