On Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, Jewish students on more than a dozen college campuses across the United States organized “Shabbat for Ceasefire” events to sing, pray, and perform their Shabbat tradition to call for an end to Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.
Jewish Voice for Peace, which helped organize the events, said in a press release that “[r]ather than seeing their Jewish identity and organizing for a ceasefire as somehow at odds, these Jewish students center ‘tikkun olam,’ repairing the world, as a core tenet of the Judaism which compels them to organize for a ceasefire in Gaza and a free Palestine.”
Elez Beresin-Scher, a junior at Bryn Mawr College majoring in sociology and an activist with Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, spoke with YES! Senior Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES! Presents: Rising Up With Sonali about why she organized her campus’s “Shabbat for Ceasefire” event.
Sonali Kolhatkar joined YES! in summer 2021, building on a long and decorated career in broadcast and print journalism. She is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and host and creator of YES! Presents: Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. She is also Senior Correspondent with the Independent Media Institute’s Economy for All project where she writes a weekly column. She is the author of Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (2023) and Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (2005). Her forthcoming book is called Talking About Abolition (Seven Stories Press, 2025). Sonali is co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women’s Mission which she helped to co-found in 2000. She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. Sonali reflects on “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host” in her 2014 TEDx talk of the same name.