ISAAC ASHER BEAN
StandWithUs (SWU), a 22 year-old international, non-partisan education organization that supports Israel and fights antisemitism is pleased to announce that Isaac Asher Bean is the 2023-24 Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern from Oakland High School where he is a senior. https://www. standwithus.com/hs-internship
Isaac is a 6th generation Oregonian, descended from Oregon pioneers and Jewish immigrants, in a community originally founded by pioneer Jews. When he was five years old, the family decided to make Aliyah to be, according to Isaac, “a part of a Jewish legacy bigger than the ones we were a part of in Oregon.” At age twelve, the family returned.
As an Israeli citizen, he received his induction papers to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Isaac is, “Proud to serve and protect our people in Israel, but now that I’m entering the IDF, there’s a new imperative to understand an old conflict, not created by me, but inherited by me. When I lived in Israel, I realized I have many enemies and adversaries I didn’t ask for, nor that I can avoid. Another name for this age-old enmity against me for the identity I was born with or who my ancestors are, is antisemitism.”
“Thankfully,” Isaac says, “I discovered StandWithUs. A great deal of what I hear about Israel is fake news even to the point of slander. I was impressed with the Kenneth Leventhal Internship because it provides the facts and information that is thoroughly researched and presented by SWU staff who have lived, or now reside in Israel, and have studied the situation for many years. It gives me the understanding, the opportunity and the voice to battle antisemitism as best I can. At my school and community, I hope to have the Jewish voice be heard and to inform people of the sad truth about the growing antisemitism we face. I want them to know that we are here and we are people too – we could be your neighbor, your mailman or your grocery store manager.”
Similar to previous years, Isaac will join hundreds of others chosen for the program from hundreds of high schools throughout North America.
The Leventhal Internship was created to formalize a growing network of Zionist students who proudly educate their peers about Israel and stand firmly against antisemitism. As part of their program, they learn how to navigate antisemitic activity and how to mobilize others to confront these issues strategically and effectively.
StandWithUs created the Kenneth Leventhal High School Internship in 2012. It selects and trains more than 190 student leaders from 190 high schools throughout the United States and Canada to educate about Israel and to combat antisemitism. Many apply to the program because our student leaders have personally experienced antisemitism at school and/or community.
During the two-semester program, Leventhal Interns, who are juniors and seniors, identify the educational needs at their schools as they pertain to Israel and to antisemitism, whether they are rooted in misinformation, ignorance or outright hatred. Then, working with their StandWithUs regional high school managers, they develop a strategy to meet those needs through relevant and practical educational programming. The Internship prepares them for the challenges they may face when entering university. These leaders, together with the many alumni of both programs, share ideas and best practices, support each other and work together to make their schools and universities a better, safer, and more accepting place for Jewish and other pro-Israel students.
John Michael Graves is the StandWithUs Northwest High School Regional Manager. Isaac recalls that he heard John Michael present at his school about the Holocaust and out of “curiosity,” stayed after class to meet him. John Michael explained the Internship and that applications were open. Isaac then, “Asked my teacher who booked him to send me information about this program and I applied immediately.”
John Michael selected Isaac, “Due to his passion and unique qualifications. Isaac’s firsthand experience living in Israel provides a valuable understanding of Israeli politics and current events – a crucial aspect of the Internship’s focus on staying informed and relevant and for leading the programs. However, Isaac’s appeal goes beyond his Israel experience. His unwavering enthusiasm and determination, sharp intellect, and ability to bridge cultures make him the ideal candidate to educate the public about Israeli history and culture. His commitment to addressing hate crimes related to all forms of antisemitism, especially anti-Zionism, aligns perfectly with StandWithUs’ goals. Isaac will ensure a lasting impact on his community and for the Jewish people.”
Leventhal Interns attended their week-long conference in August, preparing them for the school year. They learned how to identify and combat anti-Israel campaigns including utilizing the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department and Center for Combating Antisemitism. They learned how to bring Holocaust programming to their schools through the newly created SWU Holocaust Education Center. One critical session explored Zionism and identity. Students learned about the importance of getting their schools/communities to adopt the widely-accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. They were taught about the tactics anti-Israel groups utilize and how to respond to lies and misinformation promoted about Israel.
Students explored the history of Israel and reviewed the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while learning how to have rich conversations about Israel and how to better use social media platforms. Students sharpened their leadership skills and met as local regions to develop their own goals for the year.
“At the conference in LA,” says Isaac, “I learned a lot about Israel, its history as well as modern day struggles of Jewish people. I also took a big Interest in the session on the Israeli Palestine conflict since I will return to serve for the IDF.”
Leventhal Interns will also participate in a second StandWithUs conference, “Israel in Focus,” February 29-March 3, 2024, where they will meet other SWU students and leaders from around the world. Held in Los Angeles, the conference is open to both student leaders and community members and offers a variety of tracks for participants to have their own unique, customized experience. There are breakout sessions and everyone joins the plenaries to hear from renowned experts.