On February 22, a delegation of Texas Hillel students and staff members joined Jewish community members from across Texas, including every Jewish Federation in the state, at the Texas State Capitol for a day of advocacy. The day began with a welcome and overview, a meet and greet with Governor Abbott and a legislative briefing by Harvey Kronberg, a UT alumnus and editor of the Quorum Report. Advocates next got an overview of the Texas anti-BDS bill from Representative Phil King, with a chance for questions and answers. Following the Q & A, students and the rest of the Austin delegation broke into small groups to meet with legislators. After a kosher luncheon, with elected officials and other speakers, there were more advocacy meetings before the afternoon concluded.
The Texas Hillel students who participated in Day at the State are actively involved in Israeli advocacy and education at Texas Hillel. As Margo Sack, Texas Hillel’s Director of Student Life, said, “This was a great opportunity for students to see first-hand how our state government operates while supporting a very personal cause.” The highpoint of the day for students was meeting with district legislators from Austin and their home districts in small groups to talk about their support for Israel and the anti-BDS legislation. By telling their stories of being at UT with the current cloud of BDS legislation hanging over the campus, students hoped their experiences put the anti-BDS legislation in a more personal context for legislators. Margo praised the students and said “it was wonderful that students were involved in the process and had a chance to voice their concerns to their representatives.”