Community Briefs: Pro-Israel Rallies, Swastikas Found at Drexel, More

Constance Smukler, a leader of the Soviet Jewry movement, addresses the gathering while draped in an Israeli flag. Photos by Scott Weiner Photography

Pro-Israel Rallies Held in the Area
Pro-Israel rallies continued to occur in the Philadelphia area over the past week.

The Israeli-American Council Philadelphia, which organized a march down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on May 12, held a rally May 23 under the Israeli flag along the parkway.

Other rallies organized by IAC were in

Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Denver; Great Neck, Long Island, New York; Houston; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; Miami;

Students wave flags and sing songs.

New York City; Orange County, California; Rochester, New York; and Tenafly, New Jersey.

“To our brothers and sisters in Israel, we want you to hear loud and clear: We stand with you as you show the world what it means to live bravely under the threat of hatred and annihilation you have faced since before the state of Israel was even created,” said Elisha Wiesel, son of the late author and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel at the New York rally at Ground Zero – 7 World Trade Center.

Participants peacefully demonstrate in solidarity with Israel.

In addition, the recently formed Old York Road Pro-Israel Alliance held a demonstration on May 20 at the intersection of Church and Old York roads.

Two Swastikas Found in Drexel Dorms
Two swastikas were discovered on May 19 drawn on surfaces in public areas of Drexel University residence halls, Rabbi Isabel de Koninck, executive director and campus rabbi of Hillel at Drexel University, said in a letter to Hillel members

“These swastikas defiled our campus at a time of incredible turbulence for our Jewish community. As violent conflict has continued between Israel and Hamas, and as antisemitic material has circulated even more widely on social media, many of our students have reported experiencing significant anxiety, frustration and concern,” de Koninck said. “When antisemitic graffiti comes to our campus, it provokes further anxiety and fear and erodes the feelings of safety Jewish students should be able to expect on campus.”

The swastikas, which were etched into an elevator wall and a hand sanitizer dispenser, were removed, according to a letter sent to the Drexel community by Subir Sahu, the senior vice president for student success, and Kim Gholston, the vice president and chief diversity officer.

The Drexel Police and the university’s Office of Equality and Diversity are investigating the incident.

“As a university community built around the advancement of knowledge, we encourage free speech and robust dialogue, the university letter reads. “We will never tolerate antisemitism, racism, harassment or violence of any kind.”

Teach PA Conducts Virtual Mission to Harrisburg
Teach PA held its annual Day School Mission to Harrisburg virtually on May 25.

Hundreds of students and parents normally travel to Harrisburg each year to advocate for day schools and to thank legislators for their support.

This year, they did it all virtually.


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