Columbia University rabbi asks jewish students to go home over safety concerns - Hindustan Times
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Columbia University rabbi asks jewish students to go home over safety concerns

Apr 22, 2024 11:50 AM IST

Jewish groups fear for safety of students of its community amidst anti-Israel protest on its campus.

Columbia University rabbi has urged Jewish students to return home due to escalating safety concerns amid ongoing anti-Israel protests. Rabbi Elie Buechler, director of the Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, expressed deep concern over the situation, citing instances of protesters advocating for further violence and expressing support for terrorism.

Demonstrators gather outside of Columbia University to demand a ceasefire and the end of Israeli attacks on Gaza, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, during a protest in New York, U.S., April 20, 2024. REUTERS/Adam Gray(REUTERS)
Demonstrators gather outside of Columbia University to demand a ceasefire and the end of Israeli attacks on Gaza, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, during a protest in New York, U.S., April 20, 2024. REUTERS/Adam Gray(REUTERS)

Also Read: Joe Biden condemns anti-semitism on US colleges

In leaked text messages to Jewish students, Buechler emphasized the inability of Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD to ensure their safety amidst what he described as extreme anti-Semitism and anarchy on campus.

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The protests that had unfolded since Wednesday "have made it clear that Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety in the face of extreme anti-semitism and anarchy," he stated.

Columbia University rabbi asks jewish students to go home

"It deeply pains me to say that I would strongly recommend you return home as soon as possible and remain home until the reality in and around campus has dramatically improved," Buechler conveyed to the students.

Similarly, the Columbia Chabad expressed solidarity with students, describing the current atmosphere as debilitating and expressing worry over the impact on students' mental well-being and academic pursuits.

“It is not our job as Jews to ensure our own safety on campus. No one should have to endure this level of hatred, let alone at school.” Rabi Yuda and Naomi Drizin, Chabad at Columbia University told the students.

Letter of Support circulated by Rabi Yuda and Naomi Drizin, Chabad at Columbia University to the jewish students.
Letter of Support circulated by Rabi Yuda and Naomi Drizin, Chabad at Columbia University to the jewish students.

Columbia/Barnard Hillel emphasized their commitment to supporting Jewish students during times of crisis and called on the university administration and the City of New York to take immediate action to restore calm and ensure student safety.

Head of Columbia/Barnard Kraft Center for Jewish Life emails students “It is unacceptable that I need to send this email in 2024” but: NYPD will be at the Kraft Center through Passover & Public Safety will provide escorts to/from Kraft Center for anyone attending the Seder.

In the face of mounting fears, the Columbia Jewish Alumni Association urged President Minouche Shafik to take all necessary measures to protect student safety, emphasizing the imminent threat of violence against Jewish students.

Meanwhile, Israeli Columbia professor Shai Davidai raised concerns about the safety of Jewish and Israeli students, faculty, and staff, particularly in light of the upcoming anti-Israel encampment. Davidai requested police escort for himself and others, holding the university accountable for ensuring their physical safety amidst the volatile situation.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vertika Kanaujia is Editor Audience Growth at Hindustan Times and oversees the website’s coverage of business news, health, technology and internet culture. She is a Chevening Scholar and a Columbia Journalism University Fellow. Vertika has been a journalist for more than 18 years. After starting her career as a business journalist in TV she has worked with various leading news channels. You can email her at vertika.kanaujia@htdigital.in.

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