Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Students fight hate as interns with SWU


September 21, 2018

(L-r): Rayna Rose Exelbierd, Southeast high school director, with SWU Interns Sami Kuperberg and Noa Lotringer.

Last year, Sami Kuperberg, a student at Oviedo High School, planned a program to address anti-Semitism with the support of JOIN Orlando and StandWithUs, titled "One Day Starts Today," that was held in the Oviedo High School auditorium. The event, which hosted two Holocaust survivors, was an overwhelming success with more than 600 students, faculty and parents in attendance. The purpose of the program was to educate students how to effectively respond to hate.

StandWithUs, an international, nonprofit Israel education organization founded in 2001, recently selected Kuperberg and Noa Lotringer of Lake Brantley for the StandWithUs High School Internship program 2018-2019. Ethan Legum was selected as SWU's Emerson Fellow at UCF.

Kuperberg, Lotringer and Legum attended the SWU training conferences in Los Angeles last August. The StandWithUs High School Internship Program is a high school leadership program that prepares students for the challenges they may face regarding Israel in college and in their communities. Students participate in a year-long program that includes two national conferences, ongoing educational online workshops, and they receive guidance and funding to run programming in their high schools and youth groups. Students are encouraged to participate in positive campaigns that inspire their peers and educate people about Israel. 

Upon completion of the program, participants will be prepared to comfortably take the reins of leadership the moment they start college and they will be automatically part of the StandWithUs alumni network.

Talia Lerner, Southern campus coordinator, with UCF SWU's Emerson Fellow Ethan Legum.

These students are already taking the reins of leadership. Noa Lotringer's brother Dor, who also graduated from Lake Brantley High School and is a former SWU intern, launched a campaign to show support for the families under fire: the #15SecondChallenge. The goal of the program is to raise awareness about Tzeva Adom-how much can you accomplish in the 15 seconds it takes to find shelter from an incoming bomb? (Dor received a full-ride scholarship to USF for organizing this challenge.)

The challenge was instituted again at the high school and college training conferences. Here is Dor and Noa's challenge:

What can you do in only 15 seconds? Record a video of yourself taking the #15SecondChallenge and upload it to social media using the hashtag.

In only one month's time, over 200 rockets and mortars were. When rockets are fired at Israelis in the south they have only 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter.

Don't forget to challenge your friends and family members! 

To support the families of the south under fire click here: https://my.israelgives.org/en/campaign/IsraelFires2018

For more information about the internship program, please email highschool@standwithus.com.


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