Noa Tishby Empowers Jewish Students at BBYO Convention

Speech by: Noa Tishby.

I recently spoke to more than 4000 Jewish teens at @bbyoinsider. And I told them, very soon, most of you will go to college. That’s exciting. But for Jewish students, university campuses can be tough places these days.

So I want to run through a few things that you will encounter on college campuses. Because you need to be prepared. When you get to college you’re going to run into groups which are a part of the boycott Israel movement. These groups will pretend to be all about justice, freedom and human rights, which is great, except that’s not what they are about. These groups intention is to destroy the only Jewish state in the world. They don’t hide it, they just hide it from you. They will tell you that they don’t hate Jews, they just hate Israel or even better “Zionists”. Never mind that Zionism only means that Jews are allowed to have a state, like every other people, and that most Jews believe in that.

They will tell you that Jews have nothing to do with the Land of Israel. But the simple truth is: Israel is a massive part of Jewish identity. It’s where Jews and Judaism come from and where we have always had a presence. We’re called Jews because we come from Judea. 

Why am I telling you all this? Because they want to tell you that your identity is wrong and that there is something wrong with you. That being Jewish, being a Zionist is something to be ashamed of. They want you to hide your Jewish identity. 

But Jewish people are done hiding. We are not going to live in hiding. We live in a time when everyone is encouraged to celebrate who they are. Every identity is expected to be accepted. And should be. Gender identity. Sexual identity. Ethnic identity. 

We have to celebrate our Jewish identity as well! 

So now, at college and beyond: walk with your heads held high. Take pride in who you are and what you represent. Flaunt your star of David, invite all your friends for Shabbat. Find a nice Jewish boy. We will not hide and we will not let the haters tell us who we are or who we can be. Now go have a great weekend, have fun get inspired and don’t forget -- Am Yisrael Chai.

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