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Israeli students visit US to see how Jews contend with post-Oct. 7 world

Israeli students visited New York and Boston to speak with American Jews.

Participants in the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at University of Haifa take part in a tour of Boston and New York. Credit: Ruderman Family Foundation.
Participants in the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at University of Haifa take part in a tour of Boston and New York. Credit: Ruderman Family Foundation.

Students from the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa returned to Israel this past week following a tour of New York and Boston to learn from American Jews, who grapple with fallout from Israel’s war in Gaza.

The trip is a cornerstone experience of the program—a master’s degree that covers a range of issues concerning American Jewish life, American society and the bond between American Jews and the State of Israel.

While the trip has run for 11 years—since the program’s inception—this time was different as antisemitic incidents have skyrocketed across the United States amid Israel’s war with Hamas.

Israeli students started their visit in Boston, where they met members of the local Jewish community and academic leaders from Harvard and Brandeis, including Rabbi Seth Winberg, executive director and senior chaplain of Brandeis, who discussed the challenges Jewish students experienced during anti-Israel protests on campus.

They also visited the New England Holocaust Memorial, and spoke with experts on the state of Jewish education in the United States.

Then they visited New York City, where they met with representatives of AIPAC, toured Ellis Island and the United Nations headquarters and met with Israeli Consul General in New York Ofir Akunis.

The program was launched in 2013 with the support of the Ruderman Family Foundation to increase Israeli awareness of the diversity of the Jewish communities in the United States.

It’s part of the Foundation’s broader mission to reinforce the bond between the world’s two largest Jewish communities.

“For over a decade, the Ruderman Family Foundation has dedicated itself to ensuring that there is no daylight between American Jewry and Israel,” said Ruderman Family Foundation President Jay Ruderman.

“In the wake of Oct. 7, this mission is more important than ever. As we’ve seen, nearly overnight, an attack on Israeli soil has translated into alarming antisemitism across the United States. This has left American Jewry shocked to its core, and it’s our responsibility as a global community to understand how Israelis and American Jews can help each other during these troubling times,” he added.

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