Antisemitism on college campuses has seen a sharp rise since 10/7, fueled by events like the encampment at Columbia University that spread across the US. Jewish students are witnessing administrations and peers tolerating, and endorsing, antisemitic rhetoric and support for Hamas terrorists. However, this has ignited a spirit of resilience.

Birthright Israel alums, representing the program’s diverse offerings — the classic 10-day trip, Onward, and Excel — are leading the charge against college antisemitism and standing strong in solidarity with their fellow Jewish students, Israeli peers and the State of Israel. Watch and see how six Birthright Israel alums are fighting for their rights to an education free of hate, antisemitism and terrorism.

Noah Rubin at University of Pennsylvania
2023 Birthright Israel Excel Fellow

Birthright Israel Excel Fellow Noah Rubin began his fight against antisemitism when he testified at the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Bipartisan Roundtable on Antisemitism on February 28, 2024. Months later, Noah is still leading the charge against blatant Jew-hatred at UPenn. Following his op-ed in New York Post, this past weekend, Noah stood up in front of fellow Jewish students, allies and Israel supporters and delivered a clear message, “we are not going anywhere.”

Eden Yagedar and Noa Fay at Columbia University
2022 Birthright Israel Onward Alums

Columbia University students Eden Yagedar and Noa Fay are becoming increasingly recognized for their outspoken opposition to campus antisemitism. Following in the footsteps of fellow Birthright Israel Onward alum Noah Rubin, Yagedar also testified at the House Bipartisan Roundtable on Antisemitism in February. Yagedar on a daily basis continues to combat antisemitism across social media and national news outlets. She’s a force to be reckoned with.

Noa Fay, who many will recognize from speaking at the March for Israel in November 2023 never shys away from defending her fellow Jewish students and rights to an education free of hate. Most recently, Fay joined Adam Lehman, CEO of Hillel, and Ted Deutch, CEO of AJC, for a press conference at Columbia University.

Jared Stone at Princeton University
2021 Birthright Israel Alum

Birthright Israel Foundation Alum Ambassador and Princeton University student Jared Stone is leading the charge against corruption in the Near East Studies department and anti-Israel protests on campus. Most recently, Jared stood in solidarity with the AAIRIA, Alliance Against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Jared shared that the Iranian people and the Jewish community are fighting for the same goal and fighting against terrorism.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. I was honored to join the Iranian community in protest of one of the regime’s most outspoken enablers, Seyed Mousavian, who teaches at my university, Princeton. As members of the Jewish community, we must extend the hand of friendship to the Iranian people and other communities that have suffered under the repressive regime and its proxies such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis.”

Jordana Levine at University of Michigan
2022 Birthright Israel Excel Fellow

Birthright Israel Excel Fellow Jordana Levine has spent the months since October 7 going above and beyond to open dialogue between her and students of all backgrounds. Jordana co-founded Facts on the Ground (FOG) at Michigan, a student-run organization founded in response to a campus-wide vote questioning Israel’s right to exist with fellow Excelers Max Katz and Lexie Finkelstein along with a few other Jewish students. Following a rise in anti-Israel and antisemitic activity, FOG has been actively promoting education, advocacy, and dialogue, despite some of their largest events being boycotted by anti-Israel students.

Despite facing adversity, FOG remains determined. Recent meetings with elected officials on Capitol Hill showcase their dedication. With the rise of an anti-Israel encampment on campus, FOG emphasizes its unwavering commitment to fostering understanding and promoting Jewish pride.

“For four years, as an undergraduate student majoring in Middle Eastern Studies, I have focused my academic studies on Arabic language and Middle Eastern history. Throughout this time, I have proudly and actively sought out opportunities for dialogue and mutual understanding with my classmates from diverse backgrounds. It is absolutely disheartening to see the exponential rise in anti-semitic and anti-Israel activity on the University of Michigan’s campus, especially in the past week with the development of the encampment in the center of our University. Through FOG’s initiatives, our team is committed to engaging with our student body productively in order to learn, build empathy, and establish relations with students of all backgrounds.”

FOG Executive Team, Spring 2024: Jordana Levine, Gabe Silverstein, Daphne Reiner, Max Katz, Sammy Hausman-Weiss, Leo Auerbach, and Lexie Finkelstein

Abbie Barkan at University of Texas at Austin
2022 Birthright Israel Onward Alum

Birthright Israel Onward alum Abbie Barkan and fellow Jewish students at the University of Texas at Austin stood their ground and showed unwavering Jewish pride amidst hundreds of anti-Israel protesters. Abbie went on to speak to local news channels and shared that she feels lucky to be a Jewish student at UT. “I am a proud Jewish student and Zionist and I will continue to fight for what is right,” said Abbie when we asked her what is inspiring her Israel advocacy.

Abbie Barkon and fellow Jewish students at UT.