The UCI Center for Jewish Studies Undergraduate Fellows Program
With support from UCI’s Office of Inclusive Excellence and part of its programatic efforts at Confronting Extremism, Professor Matthias Lehmann piloted a fellowship program through the Center for Jewish Studies called "Confronting Antisemitism" where nine undergraduates participated in workshops about the history of antisemitism and led campus outreach projects to increase awareness of antisemitism and how to confront it among their peers. In Winter and Spring 2022, Fellows selected from across the entire undergraduate student body received a $1,000 stipend and participated in a five-part workshop, organized by Jewish Studies in cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Fellows learned about the history of antisemitism, about how it intersects with other forms of hatred, prejudice, extremism, and racism—as well as think about how to confront and combat it.
With an operating budget from the Center for Jewish Studies, in Spring 2022, undergraduate fellows acted as student ambassadors, working in groups of two to organize their own program or event to educate the campus community about antisemitism and how to confront it.
At the conclusion of the program, Fellows attended a lecture and meet & greet hosted by the Langston Library with Deborah Lipstadt, professor at Emory University and U.S. special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism. Watch the video of the event here.
"Being involved in this program has, more than anything, permitted me to find a small collection of individuals on campus that share a unique, special, and important identity with me--that of being American Jews. I had heard from various sources before my time at UCI that UCI, and Irvine as a whole, was not always the most considerate or welcoming towards Jews, so knowing that I have these people on campus that can relate to my identity and many of my experiences is comforting and empowering. Moreover, involvement in this program was one of the first ways I became comfortable with any sort of involvement on campus."
"Being involved in Jewish Studies enhanced my experience in a way that I did not expect. I have been very fortunate to be involved in antisemitism and Israeli education through several different local, Jewish programs. The Jewish Studies Program made me realize how important it is that all students get this type of education and allowed me to experience this material through the lens of the non-Jewish students on campus. This new perspective made me realize that the Jewish Studies Program is an amazing resource for all students and for the community as a whole."
"Being involved with this fellowship and Jewish Studies has opened my eyes to varying forms of hate, and - as a student - has piqued my interest in working towards future programs that deal with discrimination or hate on various levels. It has also taught me that ignorance can be a choice, and that when faced with the unknown, it is detrimental to not educate yourself."