Campus Turmoil: Rabbi Urges Jewish Students to ‘Return Home’ Amidst Columbia University Crisis

Palestinian flags and protest signs are arranged on a grassy law, as protesters gather in the background.

Columbia University is currently facing significant challenges as tensions on campus have increased in the wake of the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel. This situation has led to heightened concerns about antisemitism and student safety, particularly for Jewish students, as Passover approaches. Rabbi Elie Buechler, associated with the university’s Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, has advised approximately 300 Orthodox Jewish students to stay home due to safety concerns, communicating through a WhatsApp message that he cannot assure their safety on campus.

This crisis has also impacted Columbia’s administration, with some calling for the resignation of President Minouche Shafik. Representative Elise Stefanik, for example, has publicly stated that Shafik should step down, arguing that the university has lost control of its campus environment. Amidst these tensions, Columbia officials have made provisions for students to attend classes and take exams virtually starting from the first day of Passover, responding to the needs of students who may feel unsafe or uncomfortable in the current campus atmosphere.

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