Lewis & Clark student at national conference surprised by anti-Israel attitudes elsewhere

On Jan. 20, while my classmates were freezing in Portland, I was in Miami Beach with more than 100 students, youth movement representatives and on-campus professionals from the United States and Canada at the Young Zionist Leadership Conference.
We were a diverse group with a wide range of Jewish observance and connection to Israel. Some had never visited, others of us had gone only on Birthright, others were involved in gap year programs and some were Israeli citizens.
I was the only representative from the Pacific Northwest. Throughout the weekend, we had many different discussions on Zionism and what we can bring back to our campuses.
One of the workshops we had was about the negative attitudes about Israel on some campuses and how to deal with it. I have never experienced any anti-Israeli attitudes on my campus. I was surprised by the amount of anti-Israeli attitudes that exist on the other campuses.
A workshop I found particularly interesting was choosing words from a list to describe our personal connection to Judaism. We put the words on a string to see how we as a group connected to Judaism. This led to an interesting discussion about if we refer to ourselves as Jewish Americans or American Jews.
A workshop on how to add educational components to our campus programs was a very relevant for me since I am a co-president of Lewis & Clark College’s chapter of the Greater Portland Hillel.
The conference directly relates to what I do in Hillel. I look forward to integrating what I learned at the conference with Hillel.

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