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In response to the events of October 7th in Israel, we’ve reimagined our travel experiences for students. Our new focus emphasizes faith formation, education, humanitarian efforts in Israel, and advocacy for our Jewish friends.
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After the attacks of October 7th in Israel, we’ve revised our travel experiences for students—focusing on faith formation, education, humanitarian efforts in Israel, and advocacy for our Jewish friends.
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‘You have power’: Why fighting antisemitism on campus isn’t optional

At the age of 25, I was yearning for direction in my career. I felt that many of my peers and undergraduate colleagues had so quickly landed a “fancy job.”  Their resumes were loaded with credentials, and it seemed like everyone but me was well on their way to a nice-sounding job title.  

Those that weren’t in the “working world” yet were pursuing graduate degrees in fields they were excited about. I knew I was eager to do something that mattered but I had no game plan. With a push from my parents and my fingers crossed, I decided to begin applying to graduate schools, and I just so happened to land in New York City.  

I completed my Master of Science in Global Affairs at NYU in the spring of 2023, with a concentration in peacemaking and peacebuilding. Over the course of my time at NYU, I studied everything from sustainable development to international criminal law to tribunals. In every course and by every professor I was told to look at the greatest challenges facing our planet. As a master’s candidate, I then studied research design methods. I was told to improve my reading and writing skills, sharpen data collection methods, and start tackling big questions. Questions like:

With all these big questions in my head, and the opportunity to explore them in a master’s level degree concentration, I chose peacebuilding. The peacebuilding lens would be my avenue of exploration and problem solving. The peacebuilding program description on the NYU Center of Global Affairs website says this:  

“We live in a world dominated by news of violence, but focusing too intently on that violence diverts our attention from the truly important task of building more peaceful societies. We are fortunate today finally to understand some of the key prerequisites for peace; meeting them demands that we go well beyond the traditional tools of statecraft and engage creatively in practices of social integration, sustainable economic development and peace education, all while remaining politically aware and active.”

I share the above description, because it was everything I wanted. I didn’t want to focus too intently on violence. I wanted to learn about peaceful societies. I wanted to engage in creative thinking. I wanted greater awareness. At the end of it all hopefully I would have more direction for my career and be on my way to that fancy job and title that 25-year-old Abbey wanted.  

But let’s pause for a moment. Can I tell you what I wasn’t instructed to examine? I wasn’t told to look at my classmates and the issues they were facing. I wasn’t told to look outside the window at ordinary people. I wasn’t told to look at problems on my campus or in my community. It was always bigger. It was as if I were in a tiny little bubble where nothing wrong was happening and everyone was safe. A bubble where I could devote years of my life to studying big problems that were far away. Problems that I had to go on research trips to observe and examine.  

To the college student reading this: you don’t need to go far. You don’t need to take a trip to a remote country to observe one of the biggest problems facing our world today.  

On college campuses in America, Jewish students are facing antisemitism every single day. You are living in a historical moment. A time of hate, distaste, bitterness, exclusion, rejection, and ostracism. You are living in a time when some of your classmates do not feel safe and do not feel far removed from big issues happening in our world. They are not in a safe little bubble. Every day they are waking up and going to dining halls, libraries, and classrooms with fear because of their Jewish roots and identity.  

You have power.  

It’s true that 25-year-old Abbey felt powerless. I spent far too much time obsessing over what everyone else was doing. What everyone else’s resume looked like and what job opportunities were knocking at other people’s doors. I failed to use my time on a college campus to the best of my ability.  

But you! You can stand up for a classmate that feels voiceless. You can object to hateful speech happening in your classrooms. You can join a colleague rerouting their normal routine to get safely to and from places on campus. You can join your Jewish classmates in solidarity. You can, and there’s still time. There is still time to make a difference in the place that God has you.

So, what are you waiting for?  

Abigail Campos is a Passages alum. She graduated from New York University and currently works in Criminal Prosecution in Chicago.

Featured image: Passages alumni gathered in Washington, D.C. in January 2024 to pray for the release of the Israeli hostages being held in Gaza.

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