Rebekah Mann, Founder and President of SSI at Kennesaw State university is a Senior Business Management major. Though she is a senior, Rebekah plans on continuing her Israel advocacy in the non-profit Israel community spectrum. Additionally, she plans to keep her coaching director position for her community’s volleyball recreational program, while continuing to coach for Phoenix Rising Volleyball Club, as well as market for them.
As the President of Kennesaw State University’s SSI Chapter, Rebekah’s roles extend to Budgeting Director, Faculty Outreach, Event Coordinator, Director of Marketing and Social Media, Recruitment Chair, and Reservation Delegate where she serves as the President of SSI at Kennesaw State University. Her duties include running and leading SSI board meetings, leading tabling the tabling committee and tabling on campus, handing out flyers, constantly recruiting students, managing SSI at KSU’s social media team, buying the supplies, and catering for their events, handles their budget, and reaches out to faculty to let them know about SSI events. Among all of these roles she holds, Rebekah also focuses heavily on coalition building, where she reaches out to other presidents of other clubs on campus in collaborating on events. Her Presidency aligns well with her position as a ZOA Fellow on campus.
Rebekah’s connection to Israel is one that she cannot fully explain, she says. “First of all, I am a proud Jew and I always have been. I am connected to Israel because it is my indigenous homeland as a Jew. I am continuing in my learning of hebrew by learning modern hebrew, and I absolutely love it. I feel even more connected to Israel by advancing in my learning. To know that there are people on campus spreading lies and saying antisemitic statements angers me.
While SJP is present on Kennesaw State’s campus, one of the biggest issues at KSU is apathy, according to Rebekah. “It causes the biggest obstacle of spreading SSI’s message,” Rebekah explains, “many students seem to be in their own world and not interested in other subjects, including Israel.”
Rebekah being the Founder and President of SSI at Kennesaw State University, says it wasn’t easy to start an SSI chapter on her campus. From the beginning it was hard, but she knew that it would be worth it.
“I wanted to start SSI because as a Jew it is an honor and responsibility to bring Israel education and excitement to my campus.”
As a Jew, I have a responsibility to stand up for my people and to tell students all of the amazing things that have come from Israel. I spent a month in Israel touring and involved in humanitarian aid. It was an incredible experience.”
Rebekah attributes her increase in leadership skills to SSI. In addition, she says she has learned so much more about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
“SSI has brought me out of my comfort zone to stand up for something that may be the minority belief. SSI has also taught me to stay committed even when you do not see immediate results; to keep pushing.”
SSI has brought awareness of Israel to Kennesaw State University’s campus. Many people do not know about Israel, and due to SSI at KSU’s tabling sessions, they now have some kind of exposure to Israel. Through the groups’ intense coalition building, numbers have increased significantly. In addition, SSI is known by faculty, and some even support the chapter!
Recently, SSI at KSU had an extremely successful event partnering with a couple of Latino groups, where they served falafel and Latin food, and had a few speakers share their stories of Jewish and Latino immigration. The students’ response was very positive, and the event was their biggest yet!
Rebekah’s chapter is unique in that they have a tabling committee, where Rebekah says she would like to bring to the next level. She hopes to continue to increase numbers and students’ commitment to SSI. In the future, she would love create an ambassador team for her SSI chapter.
Being such a strong activist in the SSI Movement, Rebekah credits two people as being heavy influences in her Zionism, which she describes as, “the right of the Jewish people to live in their indigenous, ancestral homeland.” Two years ago, at the 3rd SSI National Conference, Rebekah heard Rudy Rochman speak.
“He truly inspired me in my Jewish connection to Israel. The way he spoke and the content that he brought inspired me to come back to campus and share the message of Zionism.”
Additionally, Rebekah’s great-grandpa, Julius Kravitz, was a proud Zionist. Rebekah wants to follow in his footsteps. In 1979, he was unfortunately murdered, so she was never able to meet him, but as she grows in her Zionism, she learns more about his story. He received many awards, Rebekah’s most inspirational being the State of Israel Prime Minister’s Medal, and he also had pictures with Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan. In Israel, he has a forest of 100,000 trees in his name, and he raised a record-breaking $300,000 — a number which has since significantly increased in value since then.
“His Zionism has inspired me to grow deeper and to grow in my own Zionism.”
Rebekah is so thankful for Ilan and the whole SSI national team.
“They have inspired me to keep going and to keep pushing through. I am so grateful to be a part of SSI!”
Most recently, at the 2019 SSI 5th National Conference, SSI recognized Rebekah Mann as our organization’s top Student Activist. Rebekah is a role model for exemplary advocacy, organization, and truly resembles what SSI’s mission is all about.