The Student News Site of Heschel School




Heschel Alum Experiences Jewish Hatred on College Campus

Following the outbreak of the war in Israel, Jewish hatred on college campuses has surged. Heschel Alum Gemma Levy, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), has witnessed hateful pro-Palestinian protests illustrating the anti-Zionism and antisemitism pervading campus.

Antisemitic sentiment had been brewing at the University of Pennsylvania before Oct. 7. UPenn’s Hillel was vandalized on Sept. 21, as the perpetrator yelled “F**k the Jews.” Additionally, at a Palestinian literature festival that took place on Yom Kippur, a slew of notorious antisemites were invited to speak.

When asked to describe the sentiment at UPenn after the news of war had broken out on Oct. 7, Levy said, “The emotions on campus were palpable. There were a lot of tears. It wasn’t political at first, just mainly mourning and upset, from students all over the political spectrum.”

Levy identified a turning point when the shock wore off, and students “very quickly” began to form opinions. 

“Every day, for weeks, there have been anti-Israel protests around campus,” she said. “I was walking to my morning class on Oct. 10, and I passed a group of students marching and chanting ‘we want Jewish genocide!’”

Many Jewish students on college campuses today have difficulty maintaining relationships with fellow, non-Jewish students. 

“While I have a significant number of non-Jewish friends, I have felt safest with those who feel a deep-rooted connection to Israel,” Levy said. “It is much harder to be around uneducated students who are jumping on the anti-Israel bandwagon.” 

Levy also explained that UPenn’s faculty and administration have handled the situation poorly for students directly impacted by the war. 

“None of my professors have addressed the conflict,” she said. “Even worse, students who have family and friends that were killed or taken hostage have not received extensions on work or extra support.” 

Levy said that she feels “a certain duty to advocate and actively engage in discourse,” which she in part attributes to her Heschel education. 

“I have felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards Heschel for its warmth, support and for teaching me to think critically,” she said. “I miss the Heschel community a lot these days.” 


Leave a Comment
Donate to Helios

Your donation will support the student journalists of Heschel School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Helios

Comments (0)

All Helios Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *