Meet the president of Students Supporting Israel at the City College of New York, Jacqueline Blyudoy! She is a senior studying Italian and French. Jacqueline has a strong appreciation of Israel for its political and social significance. She shares her family’s history.
“During the Soviet Jewry Movement, thousands of Jews had the opportunity to take refuge in Israel-a home in which they could now freely express their Jewish identities. Jews could now do what my family couldn’t- light a menorah on display in their window, celebrate Pesach without fear, and light Shabbat candles. As antisemitism across the world rises, knowing that Israel will always be a place that Jews can count on as a home gives me hope.”
Students Supporting Israel’s mission is to be a clear and confident pro-Israel voice on college campuses and to support students in grassroots pro-Israel advocacy. A key component of SSI is that we are student-led, and this is a major reason why Jacqueline decided to join Students Supporting Israel.
“As a Russian Jew, I was raised in a secular setting. Therefore, when I began college, my connection to Israel became the primary component of my Jewish identity. I quickly joined SSI because I appreciated that the advocacy is led by students for students. By sophomore year, I was treasurer and now President.”
Jacqueline has done an excellent job in her role as president. One of the many accomplishments has been passing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of Antisemitism (IHRA) on the student level. She continues,
“I will be working to pass it on the administration level. I also intend to form coalitions with other clubs on campus since close to 100% of classes will be in person again.”
Jacqueline has been proactive on campus, and also has to respond to the anti-Israel hate that SSI at CCNY experiences. She explains the campus climate.
“On a daily basis, it’s calm. We have Apartheid week. We have an SJP on campus. In May, things got really bad…rising animosity towards Zionist beliefs on social media making myself, and students with similar beliefs, often hesitant to express our beliefs.”
Jacqueline understands the difficulties on campus and acknowledges the hardships, but that does not stop her from being a proud Jew and Zionist on campus.
“After the events that took place in May, my activism took on a new role. It became about understanding when I owe someone a compromise or an apology. I, and my SSI chapter, don’t owe anyone an apology for our Zionist beliefs and we will not question our beliefs. The rhetoric that has been spewed on social media has been antisemitic and made many Jews on campus afraid to physically express their Judaism. My job is to protect their beliefs and ensure they have a like-minded safe space to thrive in.”
We are inspired by Jacqueline’s leadership, her moving words, and her actions on campus. We look forward to the future of Students Supporting Israel at City College of New York.