WEST HARTFORD – Sgt. Benjamin Anthony, a combat veteran and reservist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will discuss “From the Front Lines of Combat to the Campuses of North America” at a special community-wide program to be held on Sunday, Feb. 26, 4 – 6 p.m., at the Mandell Jewish Community Center (JCC). Hosted by the Young Israel of West Hartford, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the JCC, the free program aims to educate high school and college students and their parents – as well as others concerned with Israel’s welfare — about the strong anti Israel campaign they may encounter on some American campuses today, and steps they can take to effectively counter it. Sgt. Anthony’s presentation will be followed by an interactive workshop led by Rabbi Yosi and Sheera Eisen, directors of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) at UMass.. JLIC provides services, social activities and support for Jewish college students.
Specializing as a heavy machine gunner, Anthony has served both in front of and behind the lines in the IDF. Following his release from full-time service, he established “Our Soldiers Speak” – a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing the true picture of Israel’s front-line combat soldiers to the outside world. He shares his rare, first-hand insight into the humanity of Israel’s soldiers, the decisions they take in times of war, and the moral code to which they proudly adhere. He recounts the hardships he saw, the tears that were shed, the sacrifices made and the triumphs forged by the people and the soldiers of Israel.
A graduate of Britain’s University of Manchester, Anthony specializes in bringing his message to North American campuses. To date, he has spoken to students on more than 200 campuses, including those of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, the University of California at Berkeley, as well as many congregations.
Believing in the importance of reaching high school students before they begin their college careers, he recently completed a nationwide lecture tour of public high schools and is closely involved with the implementation of a new high school Israel history curriculum.
To date, co-sponsors of the Feb. 26 program include: the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, ADL, JCC, Yachad, BBYO, PRIMER, Agudas Achim Synagogue, Beth Sholom B’nai Israel, Temple Beth Hillel, Congregation Beth Israel, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, Beth David Synagogue, B’nai Tikvoh Sholom, National Council of Young Israel, Hebrew High School of New England, and Beth El Temple.