With just two weeks before the annual Chabad on Campus International Shabbaton in New York City, college students have turned to their Chabad Houses to demonstrate their concern for Israel after a week of violence and terror attacks there.

Their activism officially launched on Monday night with a massive conference call organized by Chabad on Campus International, in which nearly 1,000 students—most of them from North America—participated.

Through prayer, charity and group gatherings, thousands of Jewish students from campuses across the globe are coming together with the help of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries to show their support for their brethren in Israel.

Rabbi Dov Greenberg, director of the Rohr Chabad House at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., one of four speakers during the conference call, praised the students, saying: “You all can be doing many fun things now or important things for your career or [studying] for your tests, but you took time out of your busy day because you care about the Jewish people, because you care about our future.”

“You have power in your social sphere,” he continued. “You have people you influence in your classes and social circles ... if you stand up and think wisely and strategically, you have to know that you will win, and you will make a massive difference, each of you.”

Rabbi Yossy Gordon, executive vice president of Chabad on Campus International, started the “Solidary With Israel” call by thanking those for joining, “for caring,” noting that Chabad on Campus is “your home away from home.”

Rabbi Yossy Gordon, executive vice president of Chabad on Campus International
Rabbi Yossy Gordon, executive vice president of Chabad on Campus International

“When one’s family is in danger, we look to our home for support and guidance. We look to our family. Right now, our family is in danger,” he said. “We have to stand up and be counted, and we have to stand up and share our message: What’s happening in Israel isn’t some statistic or some historical account.

“When I say we, I mean us as in the entire Jewish community,” he continued. “And the Jewish community looks to campus to see what is the reaction, what is happening, what are the students thinking and what are the students saying.”

Stressing the need to do something proactive, Rabbi Zalman Bluming, director of the Rohr Chabad of Durham/Chapel Hill and Duke University in Chapel Hill, N.C., said: “Our precious and eternal homeland is once again under merciless attack. Her stones and her streets are soaked with blood. ... The Lubavitcher Rebbe [Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory] taught us how we can help even from the other side of the world; every single mitzvah we do helps ensure Israel’s security.”

Indeed, as part of the 25-minute phone call, students were asked to partake in several mitzvahs (good deeds) to counter the darkness of terror in Israel. These include giving tzedakah (charity) and taking a few moments to pray.

For the latter, the students were led in recitation of Tehillim, Psalms, by Rabbi Yossi Witkes, director of Chabad on Campus International in Jerusalem and the IsraeLinks Experience.

‘Jews Are One Family’

Students were also given some tips on dealing with social media and media in general from Dovid Efune, editor in chief of The Algemeiner newspaper and website.

According to Rabbi Witkes, the conference call came in part as response to requests from the students themselves. He explains that they announced the call at 9 a.m. on Monday, and by the time it began at 7 p.m., nearly 1,000 students were onboard.

Prayers for the safety of Israel and her people can include Psalm 130.
Prayers for the safety of Israel and her people can include Psalm 130.

“Jews are one family,” he states. “Part of our family is hurting in a bad way, and they need our moral, emotional and spiritual support. There is virtually no media coverage of what is really going on, which will surely change when Israel decides to respond.

“Yet why should we wait for that response, and then start playing catch-up trying to share what preceded it?” he continues. “The world needs to know now exactly what is going on, so when Israel rightfully responds to protect her citizens and the situation starts getting covered in earnest, people will be a little bit more educated about the reasons why.”

Shortly after the call ended, college students praised the program via social media, particularly on Facebook. A soldier in the Israel Defense Forces who saw postings of the conference call wrote: “Glad to have your support; it’s so important. We really need that. Spread and talk with people about this horrible situation in Israel.”

The recorded conference call can be heard below.