Mezuzahs Placed Across Indiana University in Show of Solidarity With Jewish Students Facing Rising Antisemitism on Campus
March 9, 2022
Hundreds of red mezuzahs bearing the message “I stand with my Jewish friends” have been placed on door frames across Indiana University Bloomington in a public show of solidarity following a recent spate of antisemitic incidents on campus.
“The mezuzah is so significant for college students because when they come to campus, it’s the first time they’re creating a Jewish home, the first time they get to make that choice,” said Rabbi Sue Silberberg, executive director of IU Hillel, which organized the initiative. “Unfortunately today, it also carries some risk because of antisemitism, so it’s been really meaningful and important to Jewish students to see the mezuzahs on campus.”
Among other locations, mezuzahs have been put up at entrances to the Indiana Memorial Union Building, accompanied by signs reading “There is no place for hate in our community.”
“The IMU is the community center for the campus, and our mission statement starts with ‘Welcoming all,'” said Hank Walter, IMU executive director. “This seemed like a great way to symbolically stand up and show the entire campus community they are welcome here.”
— Indiana University (@IndianaUniv) March 8, 2022
Diptanshu Rao, president of the Indiana Memorial Union Board, commented, “Campus bodies who are in place to represent student interests are not letting antisemitism go unaddressed. We want students to see the mezuzahs and say, ‘Here is a place I can feel comfortable in my identity as a Jew’ and not feel attacked or hated or anything of that sort.”
Those interested in obtaining a mezuzah to place on campus can contact IU Hillel at [email protected].
Last fall, Indiana University established a new student task force to tackle rising antisemitism on the Bloomington campus, including at least a dozen cases of mezuzahs being stolen from dormitory room doors, a trend that started around the Jewish High Holidays in September.
More recently, Indiana University Police opened an investigation last month into a series of extreme antisemitic comments posted online targeting Jewish students and fraternities, including one calling to “get them off our campus,” and another exhorting, “Take them back to gas chambers where they belong. Boycott all the Jewish houses.”