Israel Awareness and Advocacy

One of the most eagerly awaited events of the year is the annual Israel Block Party. As the largest college pro-Israel event in a 19-state region, Israel Block Party celebrates its 19th year as Texas Hillel’s premier annual event on the UT campus. On March 22, thousands of participants including students, faculty, and community members will come together to showcase and promote Israel, educate the UT student body and larger community about the complicated situation Israel is facing, highlight Texas-Israel connections and involve student leaders in planning and advocacy. Planning for the 19th annual Israel Block Party has been underway for months.

More than 70 students recently went on the winter Texas Birthright Israel trip, where they had the journey of a lifetime discovering Israel. Upon returning to campus, Texas Hillel’s Birthright Israel Engagement Coordinator, Zach Silverman, along with student leaders from the winter trip, will work together to continue to engage and strengthen trip participants’ Jewish-Israel connection. Shabbat dinners, reunions and programs are all planned. Zach Silverman says, “Texas Birthright Israel is an amazing opportunity for our students to not only enjoy Israel for the first time, but to do it with their fellow students, immersing themselves into an immediate community when they return to campus.”  To learn more about Texas Birthright Israel, contact zsilverman@texashillel.org.  The next trip is summer 2017 from May 20-May 30 and sign up is available for those who want to pre-register at www.texas2israel.com.   

Texans for Israel (TFI) have organized a board retreat in January. During the one-day event, students will plan events for the semester and address current Israeli issues. Tina Malka, Hillel International’s IAP Regional Director, will facilitate the retreat. TFI will hold events throughout this semester to further its goal to educate and open dialogues about Israel with the larger UT community.

Wednesday, February 22 is Jewish Communities Day at the State: Mission to Austin. The Dallas JCRC is coordinating on behalf of all Jewish communities in Texas this advocacy trip to our State Capitol. The day’s events include meetings with statewide elected officials and state legislators, a luncheon program featuring elected officials and other speakers, and afternoon meetings with state senators and representatives. UT students, leadership and community members are invited to join in and show strong support for the Texas Anti-BDS bill and Israel, while seeing government in action at the same time.