African-American Zionist coming to central New Jersey
An African-American, Christian Zionist who has toured the country advocating for Israel will be making two stops in Middlesex and Monmouth counties.
Chloe Valdary will appear at 7 p.m. on May 17 at the Marlboro Jewish Center and at 8 p.m. on May 24 at Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick. The young activist has launched pro-Israel groups on her University of New Orleans campus and written articles appearing in national publications defending Israel.
The programs are co-sponsored by the two synagogues, Jewish Federation in the Heat of New Jersey, and JerusalemU, an organization dedicated to strengthening the emotional and intellectual connection of young Jews to Judaism and Israel, for which Valdary now speaks. The program will also feature the JerusalemU film, “Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew,” a documentary about the return of an Ethiopian-born Israeli soldier to his native country.
“Though not Jewish, I grew up observing Shabbat, kosher style, and with the [High] Holy days,” Valdary told NJJN several months ago, before she made an appearance at Rutgers Chabad. “So the frame of reference through which I view the world was shaped by Judaism. So to engage with Israel, the Israeli people, etc. is to engage with myself and my own sense of belonging, culture.”
Known as a rising star in the pro-Israel movement, Valdary graduated from the University of New Orleans and then spent a year as a Tikvah Fellow at the Wall Street Journal where she conducted an in-depth research study about how Israel is perceived on college campuses.
She founded Allies of Israel, a campus Israel-advocacy group, and was named one of the top 100 people positively affecting Jewish and Israeli life by the Algemeiner Journal. She has also written articles for Tablet Magazine, The Jerusalem Post, and Israel National News.
“I believe that Israel is a symbol for human ambition as a whole,” said Valdary. “Israel gives expression to the human condition; the fact that we are all human beings wrestling with our shortcomings and insecurities, aims and aspirations, grand hopes and dreams, and we all aspire to greatness.”