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“I am a Zionist”: Our Herzlian Jew-Jitsu Moments Twenty Years Ago

Jewish Journal

Gil Troy

April 14, 2021

Although I felt alone — aside from my wife, who was my partner every step of the way — I later discovered that all over the Jewish world people like me were standing up and going public, not just to defend our people — but to celebrate us.

Across the continent, a West Los Angeles family therapist, Roz Rothstein, was equally dazed by the noise against Israel and the Jewish establishment’s silence. The murder of Shalhevet Pass proved particularly unnerving. Rothstein recalls: “As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, I could not take it into my brain that Jews were once again being targeted for murder.”

Twelve days after Yom Ha’atzmaut, on May 8, 2001, terrorists stoned to death two teenagers, Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran. “That murder was the final catalyst,” Rothstein explains, “the terrible clarifying moment — because it made us realize that there was no great big Jewish organization that could pivot to become the resource that would actively explain what was going on in the moment for Israel and for its citizens who were under attack.”

Two weeks later, on May 21, Roz and her husband Jerry hosted 50 local community leaders for an emergency meeting (serving deli food, naturally). Rothstein asked: “Was there a plan? Anything? Local or National? To stand up against lies and misinformation in the media? To stand up against terrorism? To stand up FOR Israel?” Nothing. Rothstein realized this wasn’t in any organization’s mission statement. “We just needed a new organization to fill an unfulfilled niche. And that gap had to be filled fast.”

Jerry and Roz Rothstein co-founded StandWithUs with their neighbor Esther Renzer. They had no funding — just a desire “to help the Jewish people deal with speaking up and standing tall against terrorism, lies and anti-Semitism.” Twenty years later, their $18 million operation has 150 employees who educate over 100,000 college students and 70,000 high schoolers on five continents each year.

Read the entire article HERE.


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