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ZOA sponsors campus programs

I dove into Bob Peckar’s column, “Allies in the fight to reclaim college campuses” (September 21), with both personal and professional interest. I would like to applaud Mr. Peckar for bringing this important issue to your readership, but I feel compelled to add one more very important national program that deserves extra-special attention.

The Zionist Organization of America’s Campus program (www.campus.zoa.org) is on more than 100 U.S. college campuses and is one of the best, most comprehensive opportunities designed to benefit not only students, but the entire college community. ZOA Campus provides free educational events, speakers, grants for programs, informational booklets, and fact sheets to enable pro-Israel education and programming to students, professors, and college administrators. Professional ZOA campus coordinators provide hands-on support, enabling Jewish and other Zionist students to carry out successful pro-Israel programs, and to respond effectively to anti-Israel rhetoric and activities. Students are invited and encouraged to participate in ZOA’s Advocacy Mission to Washington, D.C., and its annual gala dinner. For a select group of students who demonstrate leadership qualities and who commit to continuing on-campus Israel advocacy and activism, ZOA offers an all-expenses-paid student leadership mission to Israel. This is a boots-on-the-ground, education, and advocacy training program, during which students visit Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the Knesset. Students return to campus as well-prepared Zionist leaders.

Alan Jay, Paramus
(Mr. Jay is the executive director of the ZOA’s Northern New Jersey chapter.)

It’s important to talk to children

I was encouraged and grateful to see that the October 5 issue of the Jewish Standard addressed the important issues of mental health and the relevance of using current events as a springboard for serious discussions with children.

As Cheryl Rosenberg points out in her op ed, “How to talk about mental health,” when we clarify our misperceptions about mental health and truly listen to others without judging or categorizing, we are not only helping those close to us, but the community at large. Our high school and college students are setting good examples for us in organizations such as NAMI on Campus and Active Minds, which support mental health awareness and programming on college campuses across the country.

As a mental health professional, I encourage parents and families to be open with their children; to include them in discussions and meetings about school or social issues that affect them. There should not be shame in mental health issues, just as one would not be embarrassed to have a broken ankle.

In Dr. Tani Foger’s piece on the Supreme Court confirmation hearings (“An embarrassing and cringeworthy but teachable moment”), she points out that there is never a reason to shy away from helping your children understand current issues (at a level they are able) and the importance of realizing the applicability of these events as they navigate the world of parties, substance use and sexual behavior.

So power through your discomfort. Ask your children what they have heard in the media about certain topics and speak to your child about it at his/her level. The incidence of suicides in our area is alarming. Don’t think your children aren’t aware. Ask them what they have heard.

Our openness to discussing these types of issues will lead to improvement in mental health and empowerment for the next generation.

It is no mistake that these two articles were on page 36. A real double chai for the Standard writers.

Eileen Schneider MSW, ACSW, LCSW
Hillsdale

Not fair and balanced

In your editorial about the cancellation of Lisa Daftari’s talk at Rutgers (October 18), you give as one of the justifications, “She does often speak on Fox News, and that in itself is divisive.” The implication is that speech on CNN or MSNBC is not divisive. It is an editorial, and you are entitled to your opinion. But fair and balanced you clearly are not.

Alan Lewis
Fair Lawn

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