Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Forvertz: UC OK’s Study Abroad in Israel thanks to Bay Area Jews

Posted by Oyster on December 5, 2008

See for yourself, but here’s a juicy excerpt:

“This makes it more accessible, and that’s the most important thing,” said Gordon Gladstone, executive director of Berkeley Hillel at the University of California, Berkeley. “Spending long periods of time in Israel allows you to contemplate your Jewish identity in a way that few other things can.”

The announcement comes less than a year after the U.C. Board of Regents tapped Mark Yudof, the former chancellor of the University of Texas, to lead California’s extensive 10-campus system. Yudof, who keeps a kosher home, is only the second Jewish president in U.C.’s history. Yudof has visited Israel at least six times, and is married to Judy Yudof, a board member of Hillel International and a former president of the Conservative movement’s congregational arm, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

While the movement toward reinstating U.C.’s Israel study-aboard program has been in the works for several years, some pro-Israel activists said they saw Yudof’s interest in the issue as the tipping point. Upon his return from a nine-day trip to Israel in early July — just two weeks after he assumed the presidency June 16 — Yudof was quoted in the Bay Area’s Jewish weekly, the San Francisco J, saying, “I told Hebrew University that it’s no secret — I’m going to take another look” at the policy.

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2 Responses to “Forvertz: UC OK’s Study Abroad in Israel thanks to Bay Area Jews”

  1. Maya said

    yay! I spent some time fighting this in undergrad and would have loved to go had I been able. it’s been too many years that this ban has been in place and i’m glad to hear that Yudof is starting out his term on the right foot!

  2. Oyster said

    Hey Maya,

    It’s a real shame, because Israel isn’t as dangerous as people, and the media, make it out to be. Heh, so much for our kind running it.

    But seriously. The only two places in the world with more registered foreign correspondents are Moscow & Washington, D.C. Basically, the problems of Israel are disproportionally represented in the news due to their being more eyeballs on the ground there. So, while there are plenty of dangerous places around the world, Israel is made out to be some sort of WWI-style warzone.

    On the other hand, IIRC, the decision was made shortly after the horrific Hebrew University cafeteria peeguah, which killed then UC student Marla Bennett, z”l. 😦 The UC administration was under tremendous pressure to show that they were responding appropriately to the tragedy.

    With that in mind, I’m glad that Yudof is reviewing the policy in light of the changed security situation in the past 6 years. The immediate crisis and the knee-jerk reaction to it is over, and now people can see that there is no sense in limiting UC students from visiting Israel.

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