Jew on Campus


            My former Hebrew teacher buries her husband, a school principal and army reservist, 44, who was killed by a bomb in a terror tunnel next to a mosque in Gaza City. I wrote this piece after watching his funeral.


Antisemitism is on the rise throughout the world. I want to take a moment to address this, not in a heavily analytical sense, but rather to show the reader what it is like to be a visibly Orthodox person on our CUNY campuses since the October 7th massacre.  

 Saturday, October 7th, was the end of the Holiday of Booths, where Jews commemorate our G-d’s protection of their ancestors by resting in booths outside of their homes. As an Orthodox Jew, part of the Saturday-Sabbath observance meant we could not use our phones or other electronic devices, so when I awoke that fateful day, I had no idea that over 1200+ Jews were slaughtered in Israel. October 7th was the single deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. 

My friends and I started the day as we would any normal Sabbath by heading to the synagogue for prayer service. Services proceeded as usual: lots of singing and reading from the Torah Scroll. 

Then a man walked in. 

“Israel is at War. It is not an operation; there is a war. There has been a terrible terrorist attack.”

 Prayers stopped. 

Stunned silence. 

There had not been a full-scale war in Israel since Israel was attacked during Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, fifty years ago.

News slowly trickled in from the security guards and police watching the synagogue. 

100 dead

200 dead 

300 dead

By the time I went to bed that night, I thought around 400 people had been killed. I still could not check my phone.

When I woke up on Sunday, the culmination of the holiday, the news reported around 700 people dead. How could the community go to synagogue and worship? How could we celebrate the Simchat Torah holiday, which concludes the Holiday of Booths? This day, when we usually dance with the Torah and rejoice, became a day of confusion, fear, and tears.

I watched one of the most important Rabbis in America, Rabbi Herschel Schachter, break down in tears in public (contrary to the Jewish law prohibiting public mourning on a holiday). I saw Holocaust survivors with looks of déjà vu, with one survivor in our synagogue likening it to the atrocities at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When the holiday ended Sunday night, a man in the community learned that Hamas had murdered his daughter.

You cannot imagine how we felt. 

On Monday, October 9th, I watched uncensored footage of the massacres, which were proudly filmed by Hamas terrorists. Hamas dubbed October 7th the “Al-Aqsa Flood.”

Now imagine being a Jewish student and seeing the following statement by the Hunter Palestinian Student Association (PSA) posted on October 7th:


Those were the types of posts that Jewish students were greeted with when the holiday ended. As we learned about the extent of the massacre and torture, Jewish students saw their peers rejoicing. 

Students for Justice in Palestine at CCNY issued the following statement:

I had the good fortune of discussing my emotional response to these events with another Macaulay student.

I offered to share a video by conservative pundit Ben Shapiro with this student, in which he showed uncensored Hamas video footage of the attack. Many Jews, including those who strongly dislike him, found that this video perfectly conveyed how they felt after the attacks. Despite her progressive political leanings, she agreed to watch the video. As she watched his monologue and the carnage, she texted me that she could not believe that CUNY students were supporting those atrocities. 

I feel nothing but sympathy for Palestinians who live under the terrorist thumb of Hamas. They cannot speak out. Imagine having Hamas rig your mosques, hospitals and homes with terror tunnels and booby traps. About half the population in Gaza are children; as such, they have no memory of a time before Hamas. They have been stuck with Hamas’s violence their whole lives.

Some students falsely claim that Hamas does not hide within their civilian population. Hamas invited Vice (skip to minute six) into their tunnel network several years ago, where they brag about digging beneath homes. When asked why they do not build protection for their civilians, Hamas officials said that the tunnels were not for the protection of their citizens.


Nearly all videos from within Gaza show either Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another terrorist group, launching rockets from within the densely populated Gaza City. These groups launch rockets next to houses and mosques, knowing that somewhere between 20-33% of the rockets intended for civilians in Israel fall short and land within Gaza, hitting homes and hospitals.

Here on our campuses, we have students chanting slogans in favor of Hamas. They do not speak for the best interests of Palestinians, Israelis, Jews, or Muslims. Many students are roped into these protests because they think Hamas’s “resistance” is a progressive issue. They are dead wrong. There is nothing progressive about Hamas. Indeed, if these same students tried to live a progressive lifestyle in Gaza, Hamas would promptly torture and execute them. There is no such thing as being openly LGBTQ in Gaza or in the Palestinian Authority-run West Bank. Many LGBTQ Palestinians have sought refuge in Israel as a result. 

Many of these students do not know what they are saying. Other students believe that war is never a solution and that Israel should simply turn the other cheek. Others simply hate Jews. 

It is simple. We should all be anti-Hamas.

On Nov 7th, 22 Democrats, including progressive member Ritchie Torres, voted to censure Rep. Rashida Talib for echoing the chant “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.” This chant is an explicit call for the eradication of the state of Israel, which sits between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is a chant for the genocide of all Jews who live within Israel.  When you hear this chant, understand what it means. 

Imagine how your Jewish classmates feel when they hear it. 

Student groups across CUNY have made many similar chants, all of which call for the murder of Jews. “Resistance is Justified when people are occupied” is one such chant, and “by any means necessary” is another. The same groups that call the massacre of 1200+ Jewish men, women, children, elderly, and Holocaust survivors “resistance” are saying that said resistance is justified and should be repeated. 

They are in good company.

A senior Hamas official, Ghazi Hamad, explicitly said that they will repeat October 7th again and again until the only Jewish state is obliterated.


Many student groups at CUNY are calling for a ceasefire. 

There can be no ceasefire after October 7th until Hamas is no longer able to pose a threat. That, unfortunately, will come with the loss of life of the innocent people that Hamas uses as human shields. This is a tragic reality. It is impossible to watch the videos coming out of Gaza and not feel angry and sickened.   

Israel goes to great lengths to protect innocent civilians in Gaza. They have sent over 20,000 MSMs to residents in Gaza. They have dropped over 1.2 million leaflets telling civilians to evacuate to an area that is safer than the one they are in. The Biden Administration has stressed that Israel must do as much as possible to reduce civilian casualties. 

Israeli security stayed on the phone with Mahmoud Shaheen for multiple hours, helping him evacuate his area before they bombed the terrorist infrastructure embedded by Hamas in his community. 

Despite Hamas’s best efforts to put its civilians in harm’s way to get the Israelis to back off, they will continue to attempt to protect Hamas’s civilians while protecting their own. 

For many Jewish students, when they hear people calling for a ceasefire, they hear that Jews should just lie down and take it. They hear that Jews should not be able to live securely in their historical homeland. They hear students chanting that Hamas deserves a break to regroup and do this again and again. 

But after thousands of years of persecution and the Holocaust, Jews say Never Again.

Students must understand the reality that is Hamas. Students must understand the two sides of this conflict. One side, Israel, protects civilians on both sides to the best of her ability, and the other side, a terrorist organization, targets civilians on purpose while hiding beneath their own civilians in the hopes it will grant them immunity (which, under international law, it does not).   

Yet some students, like the Queens College Muslim Student Association (“QCMSA”), joke about and deny the atrocities (filmed by Hamas) of October 7th on their social media page and have since earned condemnation from Queens College President Frank Wu. 


Regular rallies across the CUNY campuses and the country call for the “globalization of the Intifada,” which refers to two Palestinian uprisings in Israel where Palestinian terrorists stabbed and bombed thousands of Israeli citizens. Again, this is another explicit call to violence against Jews here in our classrooms. 

Photo by Hailey Tokayer

While counter-protesting at Hunter College during the so-called “Day of Rage” called for by Hamas, a teaching assistant at Hunter College stole my Israeli flag. Other people drew swastikas on kidnapped posters.

Within our tight-knit Macaulay community, some students have been caught tearing down posters of kidnapped Israelis or celebrating the massacre and rape of Jews in Israel on their Instagram pages. One Macaulay Peer mentor with whom I work posted pictures of me on her Instagram. (Per my policy as Editor-in-Chief of this publication, however, I will not use this platform to call them out by name.)

When I walk in the hallways as an easily identifiable Jew with my yarmulke and tzitzis (fringes worn by orthodox Jewish men), students stare at me. 

Students say nasty things to me, and others say that they support Hamas. Still, others support Hamas’s “resistance” while simultaneously denying that they kill any civilians. 

Many claim that any video evidence of Hamas killing civilians is simply Jew AI. Unfortunately, it is not, but the claims of Jewish propaganda or Zionist media do echo The Protocols of The Elders of Zion, made popular by the Nazis.  

So now put yourself into your Jewish peers’ shoes. Imagine how you would feel with your classmates chanting these slogans. Imagine growing up hearing from your grandparents how their neighbors in Europe turned on them and handed them over to the Nazis. 

Imagine having grown up like me, having heard about my grandmother’s uncle who was killed by the Poles after the war when he went back to his old Shtetel. 


Soon, you will be finished reading this article, but for many of us, this is our reality. Tomorrow, you will wake up and go about your day. Tomorrow, I will wake up and wonder if I will need to buy an emergency ticket to Israel so I can bury a friend. 

And now Jewish students at CUNY and around the country have people screaming at us, celebrating the death of Jews, and calling for that same massacre to materialize every day around the world. 

Imagine how we feel.


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