JSU: The Hottest New Club with a Greater Purpose

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JSU: The Hottest New Club with a Greater Purpose

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  • While many people know it as the club with the free food, the Jewish Student Union is our school’s most popular newly founded club. The club’s first meeting had over 50 attendees, with students not only rolling in for the free pizza, but also for imitation sukkahs that were built out of graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, and candy. However, behind JSU is a serious purpose.

Some of the many members of JSU. Credit: Benjamin Malekan

The Jewish Student Union is a club found in hundreds of public schools across the United States. The purpose of JSU is to educate teens about the complexity of Jewish culture, and possibly aid in it’s growth. Members of JSU will be mainly be learning about Israel and the Holocaust, and how the tragic event continues to impact Jews until this day.

The clubs founders, Ben Malekan, Aaron Baron and Sara Elyassian were inspired to form JSU after a trip to Poland and Israel over the summer. 

“In Poland, we witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust through visiting concentration camps, death camps, mass graves, and more locations related to this horrible event,” Malekan said.

Seeing more recent acts of anti-Semitism globally, the founders of JSU had no shortage of motivation to establish the club. The rise of these motivated acts against Jews is in part due to lack of Holocaust education and misinformation spread about the Jewish people. 

“We were inspired to step in and do our part in teaching teens about the true beautiful aspects of Jewish culture to combat the spread of hatred,” Malekan said.

During Jewish holidays, members of JSU will engage in fun activities and simultaneously work in educating the club’s members about the nature of these holidays from a cultural standpoint. On other weeks, members will be studying the history of Judaism and how Jewish culture has evolved over time. The club has also partnered with StandWithUs, an international education pro-Israel organization. In addition, the founders plan to host guest speakers who can talk about Israel concerning numerous topics.

Members of JSU waiting to prepare imitation Sukkahs for the Jewish Holiday of Sukkot. Credit: Benjamin Malekan

The Jewish Student Union also welcomes students and administration from all different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

“I like how [JSU] is inclusive of everyone whether or not they’re Jewish,” said Alice Liu, a member of the club.

JSU has in fact already seen great diversity in the members who have attended its meetings. The involvement of people from other cultures is vital in achieving the club’s goal.

 

“Our popularity with students already has put me at ease because I know that the JSU Club will have a long-lasting impact at Great Neck North throughout the next few years, far beyond when I graduate in June,” said Aaron Baron, President of JSU club.