SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL
September 24, 2021
South Florida high school students during StandWithUs' Kenneth Leventhal High School Internship virtual conference this summer. (StandWithUs/Courtesy)
South Florida high school students are serving as pro-Israel advocates for their campuses and communities after participating in StandWithUs’ Kenneth Leventhal High School Internship virtual conference this summer.
SWU is a pro-Israel organization, and the local Leventhal Interns are among 150 from the United States and Canada who were selected for the 2021-22 school year. The program was created in 2012, and the conference the students attended prepared them for the two-semester internship in which they self-identify the educational needs when it comes to Israel and receive the tools to identify antisemitism, address and combat it. It also prepared them for the organization’s International Conference: Israel in Focus in January. Noa Barak, an 11th grade student at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, said, “I joined because as an Israeli who has lived in Israel, I noticed Americans’ misconceptions about Israeli society.” “I want to be part of the effort to educate people about Israel and combat the misinformation about it,” Barak continued. Isaac Berkower, a 12th grade student at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, said, “At the conference, I learned a lot about the history of Israel and how to defend it against antisemitism, and how I can bring this knowledge to my community.” Eilat Berger, a 12th grade student at Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida located in Boca Raton, hopes to combat antisemitism and inspire change through awareness and education throughout the school year. Other local interns include 11th grade students Jonathan Schram of Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Natalie Esquenazi of Scheck Hillel Community School in North Miami Beach and Mia Biton of Don Soffer Aventura High School, and 12th grade students Valentina Baredes of MAST@FIU in North Miami, Aaron Katz of Jupiter Community High School and Ellie Mitrani of David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie. Sara Gold Rafel, executive director for StandWithUs Southeast based in Boca Raton, said, “We are excited to be able to reach many more students in high school through our Interns.” “In the past, Jewish teens joined the Internship because they wanted to learn more about Israel, but today, they are strongly driven to also combat the rise in antisemitism, especially as it manifests on social media,” she continued. “We are so proud of our student leaders who are the future; they are so motivated and are standing firmly with Israel and our people.” Contact Rafel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Southeast office at 561-961-0752 for more information on the organization’s work in South Florida.
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