Rutgers Hillel’s Days Without Hate
By Becca Meiner, Class of 2017
Days Without Hate was an incredible learning experience as well as an opportunity for Rutgers students to come together with a purpose and defeat hate. This year, my co-chair, Sara Goldberg ’17, and I thought we would focus on eliminating ignorance. By doing so, we would spread awareness about the ignorance that exists in this world and the ways in which it leads to baseless hatred. Days Without Hate is an annual event sponsored by Rutgers Hillel and cosponsored by several other organizations. It was originally founded in response to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, and each year it unites the Rutgers community. This program focuses on tolerance, coexistence, and love. With all the hatred and unfortunate things happening all over the world, I believe it is an important message to spread.
Sara and I chaired the event together and spent the first few months of school planning the most effective way to run Days Without Hate this year. Our goal was to have a fun and informative way for students to come together and learn about many cultures and different ways of life while respecting one another’s beliefs and values. With tremendous help from our staff supervisor, OU-JLIC Educator Sara Frieberg, and many students in Hillel and other organizations, Days Without Hate was a successful two day campaign that reached many students across campus and spread the message of learning from others.
For two days, Rutgers Hillel had a table outside of Brower where students pledged to eliminate ignorance and hatred from their lives. It was amazing to speak to many students passing by and hear people’s stories and various backgrounds. It reminded me how important it is to be cognizant of my actions and to never assume anything about anyone. Everyone comes from a different walk of life and has his or her own story. Once we open ourselves up to acknowledge the viewpoint of others and respect one another, we get one step closer to creating a more peaceful world.
The Days Without Hate multi-cultural event brought many people together through the dance, a cappella, and improv performances, along with the Ask Big Questions program run by Hillel LEAD fellows Sarah Harpaz ’16 and Liz Binstein ’17. Ask Big Questions is a program developed to allow conversations about important topics to be addressed in a structured setting that encourages people to open up and share their thoughts. This was a great forum for students of all backgrounds to express their opinions and allow everyone to hear various thoughts and open themselves up to new approaches. This is a huge step in eliminating ignorance. No one should have to change their values, beliefs, or customs. It is admirable when people can appreciate the different opinions and practices that people have and learn from one another. When you can acknowledge and respect another individual despite their differences, you help create a more tolerant society without being discriminated against just for being who you are.