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January 17, 2003

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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 17, 2003 PAGE 17 By Rachel Pomerance New York (JTA)--After the an. 4 suicide bombing in Tel Batyah Levine received an e-mail checking on her fact, after every such at- Levine, a Brandeis stu- spending her junior year her onsite campus coordinator. "Brandeis does not abandon students in Israel," said sstudyingat Ben- American univer- however. As Israeli universities gear for spring semester, most universities have canceled or suspended their study abroad programs. That's the chief obstacle to attempts to attract American Students willing to study in Is- rael. Also, leery parents, a stream o! State Department travel ad- and the threat of war t Iraq have contributed to en- i universities. es that attract most American students - Aviv, Ben-Gurion and He- universities - will host this year, in- the summer session. only a quarter of pre- the universities - though One insider thinks even these numbers are inflated. By Matthew E. Berger STAMFORD, Conn. (JTA0) . Campaign trail in 2 , en. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) made headh-nes everywhere he Went. Not only was he the uem.ocratic vice presidential Vice President Ai Gore, Was the first Jew to be his party's mee'n a nationwide elec "An Amaz- Adventure: Joe and Personal Notes on 2000 Campaign," fis wife reflect played a role not candidate's policy he logistics of of the senator's an- that he seek the Democratic for president in campai tiscussions at campaign events, read, Lieberman's few secrets or campaign trail. it does provide may be a convenient unclear of the of picking an ob- for story starts senator's campaign selected as the nominee for vice politics, morning prayers amid a sea of in his home, and Plunging enrollment has caused many Israeli universi- ties to change their ways of recruiting AmericaD under- graduates, the majority of American students in Israel. College counselors no longer dispense brochures on Israeli programs or suggest them to students, so Israeli universi- ties have become more depen- dent on advocacy efforts on American campuses, according to Orli Gil, Israel's consul for academic affairs in the United States. "In the past, most of the work was more or less done through word of mouth," said Rachel Bar-El, director of the Lowy School for Overseas Students at Tel Aviv University. Today '`we are trying to send people who are very charismatic" to campus, who "can approach students and speak to them, give them some sort of pic- ture." Some 80 American stu- dents enrolled in Tel Aviv Uni- versity last fall, down from 120 in fall 2001. Another 40 stu- dents are due in the spring, slightly up from last year. Before the intifada began, about 200 students came for the fall semester, and many stayed for the whole year. An- other 300 came in the spring. In any case, Bar-El sees a change in the way students re- act to terrorism. last year, "whenever some- thing happened it had an im- mediate effect on the way people reacted," causing stu- pauses to kiss the mezuzah as he leaves the house to meet the media for the first time as a candidate. "When we leave the house, we always kiss the mezuzah," Hadassah Lieberman writes. "That's a routine gesture for us, but this time, I almost for- get to kiss it until Joey reminds me to. There I am, in prime time, as the press films me do- ing something I do every time I leave the house." In the book, the senator reflects on the ques- tions that were raised within the Democratic leadership about whether the world was ready for a Jewish candidate on the national ticket, whether Lieberman would face anti- Semitism, and if Gore would lose votes because of his run- ning mate. "I came to believe," the book quotes Gore as saying to Lieberman, "there was a differ- ence between anti-Semitism and the fear of anti-Semitism. A lot of people told me that your religion would be a prob- lem, but I concluded that their fear of anti-Semitism exceeded anti-Semitism itself." The couple speaks vividly about Holocaust survivors waiting hours to see the Jewish candi- date or his wife, who would roll up their sleeves to show their concentration camp numbers burned into the flesh of their arm. However, Lieberman did meet some who felt his cam- paign was bad for the Jewish people. In New Haven, Conn an elderly Jewish woman Lieberman had known "for- ever" said she had hoped Lieberman wouldn't be se- lected because "if you get dents to withdraw from school, for example. After the attack in Tel Aviv, however, none of the students scheduled to come for spring semester withdrew, she said. "People are starting to get used to the idea, and they start feeling that iftheywant to come study about the Middle East, they should do it no matter what," she said. RebeccaWeinstein, director of Ben-Gurion University's of- rice of student services, agreed that students were more tenta- tive last year. Still, Ben-Gurion's Ameri- can enrollment has hovered at 60 percent of its pre-intifada numbers, even though Beersheva largely has been spared the terrorism that has hit other parts of Israel. Only 12 students are slated to come in the spring, joining 22 who are there for the year. The university is feeling the pinch, unable to offer as many courses as it would like, Weinstein said. "Our decreased enrollment surely goes hand in hand with American universities cancel- ling their programs in Israel, which goes hand in hand with the exacerbated violence in Is- rael," she said. Enrollment has been hard hitat Hebrew University, which suffered a terrorist attack on campus July 31 that killed nine people, including five Ameri- callS. After the bombing, enroll- elected and the economy goes down, they'll blame us." In the book, the senator shows obvi- ous disdain for the ridicule he received from some Jewish groups - he repeatedly men- tions the Anti-Defamation League by name - for express- ing his faith at his campaign appearances. But he says he was convinced that mostAmericans respected his religious observance and his interest in discussing it. "I wanted to be who I am, and prayer and faith are at the center of my life and of my family's life," the senatorwrites. "The same is true of many Americans, and I have never understood why some people feel thatwhen you go into pub- lic life you lose the freedom to talk about your faith." The Liebermans speak of some of the difficulties of observing the Sabbath - not to mention the High Holidays - while cam- paigning for the White House, and some of the adjustments they made to express their faith. In keeping with the tradi- tion not to ride on Shabbat, the Liebermanswrite about taking long walks to the nearest syna- gogue in various campaign stops. "My campaign staff came to appreciate Shabbat: they needed down time, too," he writes. Kosher food was brought to their hotels throughout the campaign by Lubavitch rabbis who knew their locales even though they were supposed to be a secret. And a sukkah booth was crafted next to the Secret Ser- vice station outside the Lieberman's Washington home. ment in Hebrew University's them." Indeed, the State De- tering its approach, despitethe program for foreign students partmentadvisoryseemstobe July bombing. plummeted from 300 to 75. a key factor for universities. Enrolling is a "decision of a Before the intifada, as many as Geoffrey Gee, director of very personal nature," Willner 1,000 American undergradu- study abroad for the University said. ates would enroll each year. of Pennsylvania, said that he But some universities are Universitiessuchas the Uni- ''would want to see the end of boosting enrollment in other versity of Colorado began sus- thetravelwarning'beforePenn areas. Hebrew University, for pending their partnerships would resume its Israel pro- example, has attractedslightly with Israeli universities in the gram. more graduate students than it fall of 2000, when the State Until then, he said, the used to. Department issued a travel ad- university's insurance policy At Tel Aviv University, en- visorytoIsraelaftertheintifada won't cover the liability, rollmentofEuropeanstudents erupted. "Our concern is students has more than doubled, from Several major campuses, being able to enjoy a normal less than 10 percent of foreign including the University of semester of hard study and ex- students to about 20 percent. Pennsylvania, the Universityof piorationoflsrael, andwedon't European studentsare older California system and Indiana believe that can be done in a and "less dependent on their University, suspended their way at the current time that's parents," and the university programs last spring, safe," Gee said. doesn'tdictate''where theywill Studentsfromthoseschools maPenn was criticized for go and what they do," Bar-El may head to Israel anyway, and its decision to terminate its said. they can usually get credit on program last spring, in the Still,Americanundergradu- their return, middle of the semester, ates studying in Israel are the But it may not be as valuable But Gee said those who"most devoted or ambitious or as credit received for a univer- blamethe university for"back- determined of students," sity-sponsored program, ing down" in the face of terror Weinstein said. And it's not always easy for are misguided. Brandeis' Levine, for one, students while in Israel. ' /ou don't play with stu- describes a profound sense of Indiana University will pro- dents' lives by having that con- purpose. vide "no support" to its stu- viction," he said. "I know I'm taking a risk dents while they're in Israel, a More often, parents are the when I go to Israel, but it's not university official said: They ones concerned about sending going to stop me from going," can't receive advising or finan- their children to Israel, he said. said Levine, who is majoring in cial aid, or even use their emaii The disconnect fromAmeri- Judaic studies, with a minor in accounts, can campuses has proved a Islamic and Middle Eastern "With the State Depart- majorhurdleforIsraelirecruit- studies. ment advisory, universities ers. She relishestheopportunity are concerned about their li- Ben-Gurion has begun tar- to argue about Israeli politics ability for students studying getingIsraeladvocatesoncam- with her Israeli friends, repre- in Israel, so that's part of the pus, such as Hillel activists or senting"the American Zionist issue," said Peter Willner, ex- students who participated in pointofview."Levine,aBrook- ecutive vice president of Birthright Israel, Weinstein lyn native, said: "Ican at least American Friends of the He- said. say, 'This is what one girl in brew University. "Far from Theuniversityalsois"reach- New York City thinks and this encouraging students to study ing out more toward families," iswhataschoolinBoston feels.' abroad in Israel, they're mak- who have more of an influence "They need to know that some ing it very plain to students in students' decisions than in Americans care and want to be and their parents the risks, the past, she said. therewiththemandhelpthem and in effect discouraging Hebrew University is not al- through it." For more than 25 years, thousands of Central Florida families have depended on HERITAGE for Jewish-oriented news, national and international reporting, and commentary on events that affect us all - reporting that is not available in the general press. BE ONE OF THE INFORMED SUBSCRIBE TODAY! mmmm mm mm m mmmmmm mm mmmmmmmmmmmmm YES! I want to be informed. 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