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June 2023 Jewish Journal

Combating Hate

Student Leadership Conference II


The Jewish Federation of Ocean County partnered with multiple organizations to sponsor the 2nd Student Leadership Conference in Ocean County on April 24. Co-sponsors included the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission, with their funding provided by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the New Jersey Historical Commission, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and Ocean County College.

Held at the Grunin Center Theater at Ocean County College, eleven school districts sent student participants. Nearly 400 students heard from Arno Michaelis about his past involvement, beginning at the age of 17, in the white power movement and how he left that life behind. Michaelis, the keynote speaker, from the Forgiveness Project, also spoke to some

students during the breakout sessions.

Breakout sessions highlighted:

• a discussion with a Holocaust survivor moderated by Chhange

• a panel of Latina Georgian Court students

• a discussion with Orthodox neighbors

• an attorney discussing cyber bullying

• mindfulness

• how to organize a school social justice-diversity club with the Prosecutor’s Office.

Keith Krivitzky, Federation’s Managing Director, was pleased with the day’s program and the growing participation of more school districts, but said, “This is an uphill battle, in part because of increasing intolerance in our society, but also because there are new students growing up every year.”

Plans are already in the works with these coalition groups for another program in November. More information about the Jewish Federation’s efforts to combat hate of all kinds and an opportunity to nominate upstanders as Heroes Against Hate can be found at: https://www.jewishoceancounty.org/combatting-hate.

(Photo credits: Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

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