Moving Forward with Purpose: Cultivating Hope in a Post October 7th World
By Garrett Langfeld, ’22-’23 J Leaders Academy Alumni and Cultivating Hope Planning Committee Member
Each of us was affected in our own way by the events of October 7th. Like many in the Jewish community, I have felt waves of emotions since the tragedy of October 7 and the subsequent rise of antisemitic rhetoric and actions around the world. Times feel dark.
But I realized that if we as a Jewish people are going to make it through this, we need to stick together as a community. While we can easily feel isolated alone, coming together to share and learn from others can help us process our feelings and learn how we can move forward.
It is with this spirit of community that we’re launching an event for young Jewish adults to Cultivate Hope in a Post-October 7th World.
Start with Israeli Lunch
Attendees will first enjoy an Israeli lunch because — let’s be real, Israeli food is delicious — and to show support for restaurants and caterers who have unfortunately faced boycotts just for being Israeli and/or Jewish. During lunchtime, we will also give Jewish organizations co hosting the event an opportunity to share what they do and how young adults can get involved. In a time where many of us may crave a sense of community and purpose, our hope is that we can connect interested participants with organizations that are looking for the next generation of leaders.
First Panelist — Amy Albertson
The main part of the event is a panel featuring experts on antisemitism. In recent years, antiSemitic content has, unfortunately, proliferated on social media. Many young adults, given their amount of time spent online, see this content on an almost daily basis. Our first panelist — Amy Albertson — has a history of combating antisemitism online as an influencer with over 31K followers. She lived in Israel for six years and created “The Asian Israeli,” where she chronicled her exploration of her Chinese and Jewish identity. Albertson hosts workshops inspiring young Jews to be more unapologetically Jewish, both online and IRL, and has been recognized as a Warrior for Israel by the Women’s International Zionist Organization.
Second Panelist — Hilary Hawn
Similarly, Hilary Hawn also has dedicated her career to fighting antisemitism online. After witnessing antisemitism both online and while a student at UC Berkeley, she now educates young people about the history of the Jewish people and antisemitism. When a proposed ethnic studies curriculum in California featured anti-Israel content, Ms. Hawn developed an alternate ethnic studies curriculum that the Jewish Federation submitted to the governor. She has over 23K followers on social media, and her posts have been shared by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Meghan McCain, and Demi Lovato.
Third Panelist — DA Jeff Rosen
Our final panelist is Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen, who has dedicated much of his career to combating antisemitism and hate crimes from a legal angle. He has advocated for improving antisemitism reporting databases, Holocaust education, security and law enforcement responses, and government anti-discrimination policies. DA Rosen also works within local and state Democratic party politics to push back against anti-Israel stances.
Debrief and Discuss
After the panel, attendees will debrief and discuss with one another. While it is easy to feel like we are alone and full of despair in these troubling times, these discussions will allow attendees to connect with others who may be feeling the same emotions. Our aim is for attendees to leave with actions they can take to cultivate hope with a renewed sense of comfort and purpose knowing that they are part of a strong Jewish community.
If you’re a Jewish young adult, you’re welcome to join us for this important gathering on Sunday, February 25th at 2pm – 5pm. Learn more and register here.