themcglynn.com

30 May

Allow Young Jews to Go & Learn

 
Dear The McGlynn

Last Sunday I found myself in an increasingly familiar situation—standing with a crowd on the sidewalk outside a Jewish institution, barred from entering by security.
Usually this happens because I am protesting what is happening inside. But this time I had scheduled an event and made a $100 deposit to enter that space. Back in March I had signed a contract with the 14th Street Y—a Jewish community center in Manhattan—on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace for Go and Learn, an educational event series hosted by JVP’s youth branch, Young, Jewish and Proud. Events like this have already taken place in San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, and Philadelphia and are upcoming in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Our plan was to spend the holiday of Shavuot eating blintzes, learning about the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and wrestling together with the implications of BDS for the Jewish community. But our event was censored. Can you sign here to urge the 14th Street Y to reconsider?

At eight o’clock on the Friday night before our event the Y’s Executive Director Stephen Hazan Arnoff called to tell us that the Y was canceling our room reservation. His stated reason was concern that our event would draw a crowd larger than the room’s capacity of 75, despite the fact that RSVP’s were well under half that number. When only 34 of us gathered for our event on Sunday, the Y still refused to let us enter the room we had reserved. And so we found ourselves relegated to the sidewalk and a nearby park to have our discussion.

Sign here to send a message to the 14th Street Y Executive Director Stephen Hazan Aronoff urging him to allow young Jews to Go & Learn.

The 14th Street Y’s last minute cancellation is emblematic of a larger trend of silencing discussion on Palestinian nonviolent movements within the Jewish community. No matter what one believes about BDS, we need space in our communities to have these discussions.

The 14th Street Y needs to hear from you that it is important that these conversations happen in spaces like the 14th Street Y. Censorship does not strengthen our communities. Open, honest, and critical debate does.

Thanks,

Carolyn Klaasen
Young, Jewish, and Proud

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