February 6, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 71  

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Israel Day celebrated

By Mark Polishuk
Gazette Staff

The Jewish Students’ Union held their annual festival of all things Israeli yesterday in the University Community Centre atrium with a colourful display area that focused on promoting the values of the Middle Eastern nation.

“Israel Day is a cultural celebration to show our love of Israel and to teach others in the community what Israel is all about,” said Julie Shulman, co-organizer and Israel Day chairperson of the JSU.

“Our goal is to show off Israel’s diversity, traditions and multi-cultural society,” said Paul Rakowski, an Israel Day committee member. “We want to show the Israel you don’t see in the media.”

The focus of the event was on fun rather than politics and available swag included tattoos, T-shirts and condoms adorned with such puns as “Israel: It’s Safe to Come.”

“This day is meant to be cultural and not to deal with any specific political issue,” said volunteer and JSU member Matt Fisher. “We want to show Western students what it would be like to visit Israel. We’re highlighting the elements that are overlooked by what’s on the news.”

Israel Day did have a more serious side, however, as a vigil was held for victims of terror-related attacks. Funds were also being raised for the Kobi Mandel Foundation, a charitable organization which sends children of terror victims to camp.

The event garnered a positive response from Western students. “It’s good to learn about new cultures, and it’s good to see it happen in a peaceful environment,” said fourth-year social science student Mark Baird.

“I’m saddened that more groups don’t do stuff like this,” said fourth-year Huron University College philosophy student Nick Tsoi. “These guys are putting in all this effort and doing a really great job of promoting awareness.”



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