Loyola University Chicago’s Hillel faces tension as the international Palestinian-Israeli conflict roots itself at the university.
The Jewish social organization hosts celebrations, holocaust remembrances, Jewish awareness weeks, theological panels and documentary viewings on campus.
The strain between Hillel and Loyola’s Students for Justice in Palestine deepened after an incident last year.
In September, Hillel set up a Birthright table at the Damen Student Center without university approval. Birthright gives Jewish people the opportunity to visit Israel for free. Palestinian students and SJP members formed an adjacent line to the table. Some Palestinian students asked to sign up for Birthright to show how discriminatory the process is, according to the Loyola SJP blog.
As a consequence, Hillel was required to attend registration training and SJP was put on probation and is unable to request funds from the university until the end of the school year. Both Hillel and SJP took to the Loyola Phoenix newspaper to voice their concerns.
Adam Mogilevsky, vice president of Loyola Hillel, said the university administration doesn’t know how to keep this conflict from becoming a long-term problem.
“[The administration is] concerned, but whether or not the action is happening is a different story,” said the 21-year-old history major. “I think the administration is trying, but they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and that’s fine. But sooner or later, my fear is that some things are going to get worse.”
Listen to Mogilevsky explain how Hillel is dealing with the conflict and find out more about the pressure for peace by listening to the audio clip below.