On Campus | Post-Its

University of Arizona Hillel Statement on Campus Activities During the Week of Passover

It is imperative that the University of Arizona remains a place where Jewish – including Israeli — students, faculty, and staff can express their religious, ethnic, national, and cultural identities in an environment of open inquiry, respectful dialogue, and civility. We extend this imperative to all students, faculty, and staff regardless of affiliation.

Over the past week, many worried parents, students, and community members have reached out to Hillel with concern due to the University of Arizona Students for Justice in Palestine’s (SJP) planned Israeli Apartheid Week. This is a week where we must recognize our intense disagreement and also remain true to our ideals of what it means to be on a politically diverse campus. Our first priority is, and has always been, student safety, and to that end, we have ongoing and supportive relationships with many different UArizona offices including the Office of Public Safety, the Dean’s office, and the Threat Assessment Management Team. We will remain in close contact with these offices through the end of the school year. At this time, there is no indication that there is any increased threat of physical violence against Jewish students next week.

We recognize that beyond the physical safety of students, several aspects of the week ahead are deeply troubling and upsetting to many Jewish students at the University. UA SJP’s planned events coincide both with the week of Passover and the week before finals. When we and our Israeli and Jewish students hear slogans chanted on the mall like “From the River to the Sea”, we hear a call for the displacement of Jews from our historic homeland, and the erasure of Israeli culture. When we see signs that say “End All U.S. Aid to Israel” just weeks after the Iron Dome deflected hundreds of Iranian drones and missiles targeting Israeli population centers, it’s horrifying to think about the casualties that would happen in consequence if that aid were not there. It makes it a hard end to a hard year.

However, through the difficulties of this year, we have also seen the courage and resilience of our Jewish students, some incredible Jewish community-building, and moments of Jewish joy. To that end, Hillel will be serving kosher Passover food all week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which students can either eat in the building or take to-go. We will host a seder on Monday, April 22nd. On Thursday, April 25th, we will have visiting dogs and a baked potato bar. We will also be hosting Shabbat services on Friday, April 26th.

If any students are feeling anxious or in distress about the events of this week, we are ready to support them and be a resource to them, connecting them with CAPS or any other necessary campus resources. Whether we see them every day or this is our first time meeting them, our organizational mission is to assist our students so that they can live fulfilled Jewish lives at the University of Arizona.

To our students: We hear you. We see you. We feel your pain. And we stand with you.

Nevertheless, we encourage you to rise above. Do not allow these events to define your Jewish experience. Wear your Judaism with pride. Know that if you feel unsafe, troubled, confused, angry, or any other of the hundreds of emotions we too are experiencing, you always have a home here at Hillel. During this time, we encourage you to attend our upcoming Passover programming, which will be dedicated to expressing our love for Judaism in a safe and healthy way. If there is one thing recent events have taught us, we are stronger together.