Jewish Students Association brings diversity

The student body at St. John’s University reflects the population of the city in which it resides-it is rich in diversity.

But not only are students of many different ethnic backgrounds, there are students of various religions as well.

Many of the students from the varying religions are represented by different groups on campus.

One of these groups is the Jewish Students Association (JSA).
JSA meets every Tuesday and Thursday during common hour in St. JohnHall, room 113.

There are about 100 members in the group and about 40 members who actively participate in the events the organization holds on campus.

The president of the organization, Jacob Nisim, a junior, said that he feels comfortable being a Jewish student at a Catholic university.

“I think St. John’s is an example that every college should take,” he said. “I feel very accepted.”

Nisim remembered a time from last year that affected him deeply.

“I gave a speech about anti-Semitism,” he said. “I was very sad about it.” He added, “Two days later I received a message [from someone about the speech].” Nisim said that he is glad that he is “actually making a difference.”

Another member of the organization, Arkadiy Davydov, a fifth-year pharmacy student, agreed with Nisim about feeling accepted at the University and is happy to be a part of the JSA.

“To know the fact that it’s a Catholic University and it’s New York, [which has a] Jewish flavor… that’s what St. John’s is all about.”

The JSA hosts many different events on campus throughout the year.

One event that is coming up soon is a celebration for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

This year, the holiday will began at sundown on Monday, September 29 and ends at sundown on Wednesday,
October 1.

There is also a program, called the EMET-JSA Leaders Fellowship, which was started last year. This program is a 12-week introduction of Judaism and it will begin on September 15. Students have to apply to the program, which will be held every Monday night in St. John’s Hall.

According to Rabbi Mordechai Kraft, the director of EMET College Outreach, the fellowship is an “opportunity to have a Jewish education with really great teachers.”

Students who participate in the fellowship may earn a stipend, a personal Judaic library, or a scholarship toward a trip to Israel.
Other events held every year are Holocaust Remembrance Day in April and a Passover Seder, also in April.

“[We’re going to] present it to the campus to get them aware,” Nisim said.

To learn more about the Jewish Students Association, stop by the meetings.