Andrew Rehfeld, president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion visited the campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on Sunday in the first such visit by a leader of an American academic institution since the start of war between Israel and Hamas.
Rehfeld met with BGU president Daniel Chamovitz, who described the visit as “a poignant demonstration of solidarity.”
Among the stops on his tour of the BGU campus, Rehfeld visited an exhibit within the University Center that features images of the 240 hostages held in Gaza, including Noa Argamani, a third-year student at BGU whose “absence resonated strongly,” said Chamovitz.
“I am reminded of the broader significance of such exchanges between campus leaders globally,” he said. “These acts of solidarity serve as beacons of support, fostering connections that transcend borders and reinforcing the idea that our shared goals in education can be a powerful force for positive transformation on a global scale.”
HUC-JIR has campuses in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York and Jerusalem.
“I think it’s particularly important for presidents of universities around the world to show solidarity by coming, by visiting, by messaging, and say that Israel does not stand alone,” said Rehfeld. “The work that BGU is doing to promote shared society is aligned with the work that Hebrew Union College is doing to build shared society in America and in Jerusalem, where we have a campus. And we look forward to building stronger partnerships after the war and during the war, but especially, with an eye to what happens next.”