Weber (11) hosts workshop to combat antisemitism


Julia Lourenco and Matthew Pruzan

Ariela Weber (11) helped host a workshop on Jewish history with around 40 participants at the Moise Safra Center last Sunday. 

Weber is an intern at StandWithUs (SWU), a non-profit organization that educates people about Israel to counter antisemitism, and invited Charlotte Korchak, Director of International Student Programs at SWU, to speak at the event. Korchak unpacked the complexities of Jewish history, explaining how to engage in conversations with anti-zionists, and called youth to action against antisemitism.

As the head planner, Weber contacted Korchak after hearing her statements on zionism — which Korchak defined as the belief in the Jewish state and the land of Israel — at a convention in California she attended with SWU. “We were told her talk [at the convention] was going to go for 45 minutes, and it went for two hours.”

Those two hours flew by, similar to Sunday’s event, Weber said. Korchak covered the past 2,000 years of Jewish history in the hour-long talk, clarifying misconceptions about how the Jews settled in British Mandate Palestine, now Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. Inspired by Korchak’s childhood memories about political turbulence in Israel, Weber gained perspective about the gravity of the Palestinian violence towards Jews living in Israel at the time, she said. 

“[The event] gave people the tools they need to be able to combat and approach those difficult conversations [about Jewish history],” Weber said. They now have the necessary facts to defend their stance against antisemitism to people who have different opinions, she said.

To inform people about the event, Weber and five other SWU marketing interns reached out to teenagers and parents who might be interested in attending, she said.

Korchak informed Chloe Ludwig (9) about techniques she can use to confront antisemitism, she said. “If the time comes where I need to respond to or stand up for myself or Israel, now I know how.”

Korchak also spoke about the importance of Jewish pride in the face of antisemitism. “[Korchak] gave the example of the Jewish star necklace. Since she’s been wearing it proudly, no one has ever come up to her, but if you walk with your head down low, there is a threat of being attacked,” Ludwig said. 

Vivan Coraci (11) learned everyone can take action to help fight the rise of antisemitism, no matter their background, she said. “I’m not Jewish, but I went because a lot of my friends are Jewish and I think it’s important to learn about antisemitism.”

In order to educate people about antisemitism, the school must cover more topics than just the Holocaust in history classrooms, Weber said. Most anti-zionist beliefs stem from a lack of education on the topic, and the school should be working actively to fix this issue, she said.