Noa Grunfeld, President of Students Supporting Israel at California State University- Long Beach, is a Senior studying Molecular Cell Biology and Physiology. Her future plans are to attend medical school.
As President, Noa finds her self educating students about Israel and organizing engaging events where students can get together and express their opinions, thoughts, and beliefs about Israel. In addition to her role as President, she holds an additional leadership position as a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow.
Born in Israel, Noa moved to California at the age of 15. Even though she loves her home here in the US, she feels that Israel is my true home.
I love the amazing people, the lifestyle, and the Israeli culture. Being Israeli will always be a big part of my identity and It’s something I’m very proud of.
The campus at California State University — Long Beach, tends to lean more apathetically. However, while SJP is present on the campus, Noa believes that SSI has made CSULB more open to the Israeli identity. It has provided a space for curious individuals to ask questions and express their opinion. It has also united people together who share the same love for Israel and may have increased the acceptance of Israel on our campus.
Noa also says that helping raise the SSI chapter at CSULB was, as she says, “the best decision.” She continues by adding, “It has connected me with many other students who share similar interests and a love for Israel.”
At the beginning of Noa’s college career, she joined Hillel on campus. She enjoyed keeping up with jewish traditions and connecting with students, but I felt as if something was “missing”.
I felt disconnected from my Israeli Identity.
With her parents having a huge influence in her Zionism, which Noa describes as, “the right of the Jewish people to protect themselves by existing in their ancestral homeland,” she wanted to continue to grow her support for her Zionist ideals. That is where SSI’s influence benefitted Noa.
Being part of SSI has helped Noa grow professionally, but also developed her knowledge about Israel. She believes SSI gave her the opportunity to develop leadership skills and learn about the importance of group work. Additionally, she believe that small actions lead to big opportunities, and being a part of SSI has shown her how advocating for something she believes in can have a huge impact on people around me.
I truly believe that many students could benefit from SSI whether it is socially, culturally, or intellectually.
Her goals for the upcoming semester are to build coalitions with other clubs on campus — specifically cultural or religious clubs.
I believe that reaching out to clubs could help our social network grow tremendously and could help us influence a larger network of people.
Noa’s favorite SSI memory was at the JIMENA event hosted on her campus. The JIMENA event, Noa says, attracted a new student who was very passionate about Israel’s history. After watching the film, the student was so thankful he connected with SSI and now has a place to share his thoughts and feelings about Israel.
He was very engaged in the group discussion and shared some interesting historical facts about Israel.
In the future, Noa hopes to grow her chapter even more by expanding their social media outreach. She believes a strong, updated social media could help notify students about their chapter’s events while staying organized.
We are excited to watch California State University — Long Beach’s activity for this year! They will be the first chapter to host SSI speaker, Eyal Dror, the leader of Operation “Good Neighbor” which saved the lives of thousands of Syrian refugees during the civil war that took place in Syria for 7 years.
You can follow them on Facebook to keep up with more events this semester!