StandWithUs (SWU), an international, non-partisan education organization that supports Israel and fights antisemitism, is pleased to announce the 2022-23 students participating in the Kenneth Leventhal High School Internship from Dallas. They are: Eden Behr, Plano West HS; Eli Raphael, Highland Park HS and Lily Feinstein and Shayna Rubinstein are at Akiba Yavneh Academy.
Similarly to previous years, the local student leaders join 150 students who were selected for the program throughout North America.
Created in 2012, the StandWithUs Kenneth Leventhal High School Internship selects and trains student leaders from high schools throughout the United States and Canada to educate about Israel at their schools and to combat antisemitism. During the two-semester program, the Leventhal Interns, who are juniors and seniors, identify the educational needs at their schools as they pertain to Israel and to antisemitism, whether they are rooted in misinformation, ignorance or outright hatred. Then, working with their StandWithUs regional high school managers, they develop a strategy to meet those needs through relevant and practical educational programming.
Gabriel Ivker is the new StandWithUs Southwest High School Regional Manager. Gabriel spent his gap year in Israel through Nativ. He was immersed in the rich culture and history of Israel and learned firsthand about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow at Indiana University and graduated with a major in law and public policy. “Education is the most important way to create positive change, and I am more than happy to be a part of StandWithUs because it believes that education is the road to peace,” states Ivker.
Founded in 2007, the yearlong Emerson Fellowship is a prestigious program that trains, educates and empowers student leaders on college campuses around the world. Chosen from key campuses, Emerson fellows lead their campus communities and engage and inspire their peers through impactful educational events, campaigns and discussions about Israel. The fellows are also trained extensively on how to navigate antisemitic activity on campus, and how to mobilize and confront these issues strategically and effectively. Throughout their experience, Emerson fellows are plugged into a global community of student leaders where they can exchange ideas, share best practices and support each other.
Joshua Mitchell-Arbital is the new central campus regional manager. Mitchell-Arbital graduated with a Master of Arts in International Studies with a focus on culture, power and social movements from the University of San Francisco, where he also interned for SF Hillel. He attributes his interest in this work to his upbringing in a strong Jewish household and to alarming rising antisemitism. Mitchell-Arbital says that personal and professional experience “put me on the path to fight for myself, for the Jewish people and for the State of Israel. It also empowered me to educate the next generation.” He has dedicated his career to making Jewish people safer in this world and protecting the Jewish State.
Mitchell-Arbital joined StandWithUs “to help educate the world about Israel and to fight antisemitism. After centuries of being scattered around the world, Jews now have the ability for self-determination in our ancestral indigenous homeland. The organization’s work allows me to be a part of helping my people — and my students — overcome our struggles. I hope to bring more understanding and knowledge about the Jewish people and Jewish state to this amazing region!”
The Emerson fellows in the Central region are Taylor Wexler at Texas A&M University and Alexander Suster at the University of Texas.
Students in both programs attended their weeklong respective conferences in August, preparing them for the school year. They learned how to identify and combat anti-Israel campaigns including utilizing the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department and Center for Combating Antisemitism. They explored the history of Israel and reviewed the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while learning how to have rich conversations about Israel. Students gained leadership skills and had regional breakouts with their managers. They left energized and confident, with ideas for programming. Many reported having experienced antisemitic incidents and now feel better prepared to effectively respond to them.
They will also participate in a second StandWithUs conference, “Israel in Focus,” March 2-5, 2023. Held in Los Angeles, the conference is open to both student leaders and community members. Students have their own track, there are breakout sessions and everyone joins the plenaries to hear from renowned experts from all over the world.
“Each year, I remain impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity of our awesome Dallas high school and college student leaders. They learn from previous participants in our programs and nominate candidates for the coming year,” stated Kate Chavez, StandWithUs co-director of high school affairs. “As antisemitism continues to rise, including in Texas, these students — already leaders in their schools and communities — are fully prepared to confront these challenges while also organizing programming that shares the beauty, accomplishments and experience of Israel.”