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Introducing Tablet’s ‘Campus Week’

School can bring on a lot of emotions and uncomfortable experiences. It can also be one heck of a good time. So we’ve put together a series of articles to let students know they are not alone.

Jonathan Zalman
September 22, 2016

This article was originally published on September 12, 2016.

Being in school, discovering new ideas, and forming one’s own personal identity can be both an enlightening and daunting experience—especially for Jewish students. Ideally, college should provide you with a potent educational elixir: freedom (g’bye parents!), institutional support, and steady doses of challenges.

Perhaps the biggest test you will face at school is the process of learning about who you are, the ideas and people you want to surround yourself with, and where your boundaries lie. This, in a sense, is the process of becoming an adult. And for Jews young and old this is complicated territory: We are and are not a minority. Are and aren’t privileged. Are and aren’t white. Are and aren’t the same as the kids living next door, particularly around Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and Christmastime.

So this week, now that you’re are firmly planted back into the classroom, we’ve put together a collection of some of our more topical articles about campus controversies and identity politics—written by students and university graduates and faculty members alike—and put it in one convenient place: Tablet’s Campus Week.

Why this year and not previous years? Because universities have become places where the identities and allegiances of Jewish students have become the subject of questioning, controversy, discomfort, disdain, and anger in ways that hasn’t been true in this country for decades. Is this something permanent? We don’t know. Has America changed? Is it Israel’s fault? Is it Obama’s fault? Is it our fault? Again, no one here pretends to have a single answer. Instead, we have many answers, which we hope will help some of you think these questions through for yourselves during a time of rapid and sometimes frightening and sometimes exhilarating change.

Above all, we want you to know that you are not alone. We are all in the same boat together, feeling the same wide range of emotions, from discomfort and confusion and outrage to solidarity and pride, even if we don’t always agree on the proper objects for those feelings. Oh, and we also want you to feel comfortable knowing you’re not the only one whose got embarrassing education stories. We’ve got plenty of those, too.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.