A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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St. Louis teens, seeking guidance on antisemitism and how to talk about Israel, now have a new option

Since Oct. 7, the Jewish Light has been closely following the stories of local teens grappling with the pressing need for guidance in navigating the surge of antisemitism. These young adults are not only seeking education on effectively addressing bigotry but also striving to become articulate advocates for Israel and the Jewish community among their peers.

For many years, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) has been at the forefront of educating over 2,000 teens through its Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT) program. Now, this renowned program is making its way to St. Louis.

Program overview

The LFT program is designed to instill a robust Jewish identity and cultivate advocacy skills, empowering teens to become informed and vocal advocates for Israel and the Jewish people. By equipping participants with knowledge, tools and skills, the program aims to proactively prepare them to address challenges they may encounter, particularly on college campuses where discussions about Israel can be contentious.

Nancy Lisker, regional director for St. Louis-American Jewish Committee, emphasized the importance of guiding teens through the complex landscape of antisemitism: ‘To help them navigate a complicated and often hostile social fabric, our teens will spend time learning the intricate history of antisemitism and how it manifests itself in today’s society. Together, we’ll unpack how these prevalent tropes manifest across major social media platforms and empower them to respond to or report antisemitism effectively.”

What students will learn

The AJC is transparent about the curriculum, ensuring parents understand exactly what their teens will be learning.

“We are unique amongst Jewish advocacy groups in promoting a centrist, non-partisan narrative approach to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Lisker. “We teach our students that being pro-Israel does not mean you are anti-Palestinian, or vice versa. Instead, we challenge them to acknowledge and validate Palestinian narratives while still remaining steadfastly true to our own proud Zionist beliefs.”

Rather than relying on scripted talking points, teens are encouraged to forge their own advocacy paths by gaining a deeper understanding of how their Jewish identities contribute to the broader tapestry of the Jewish people.

“This will be the first time that the AJC Leaders for Tomorrow program will be offered in St. Louis. Every year we see the immediate success of our work most prominently on American college campuses, where LFT alumni at top schools ranging from NYU to Northwestern to UC Berkley are standing up to denounce antisemitism and advocate for new policies to protect their Jewish communities,” said Lisker.

Leaders for Tomorrow Accelerator

When: Sunday, April 14, from 10 a.m. -2:00 p.m.
Where: United Hebrew Congregation 13788 Conway Rd., 63141
To Register: visit AJC.org/stlouis/lft2024
For more information contact: [email protected]

| RELATED: What these Clayton students did and are doing to fight antisemitism



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About the Contributor
Jordan Palmer
Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer
Jordan worked at KSDK from 1995 to 2020. Jordan is a three-time Emmy award winner who produced every kind of show from news to specials during his tenure, creating Show Me St. Louis, The Cardinal Nation Show. He started ksdk.com in 2001 and won three Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic and website excellence in 2010, 2014 and 2020. Jordan has been married for 25 years and is the father of two college students. He is an avid biker, snowboarder, and beer lover. He created the blog drink314.com, focusing on the St. Louis beer community in 2015. Jordan has an incredible and vast knowledge of useless information and is the grandson of a Cleveland bootlegger.