Rutgers University produced a just-more-than one-minute video about the importance of fighting anti-Semitism. Once it was posted to YouTube, its news and media relations office disseminated it to “tens of thousands” of staff, students, and alumni.
Links to the video were sent out on Jan. 25, two days before Holocaust Remembrance Day, the day designated by the United Nations in 2005 to remember the victims of Nazi genocide. The release was selected to coincide with the Jan. 27 anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Russian troops.
The video was the third in a new series launched by the news and media relations office called “Why I Should Care About,” the goal of which is to “better educate the public on topics not everybody understands,” said Cameron Bowman, senior video producer and media editor.
The first video, premiering before the November 2018 elections, was on the importance of registering to vote; the second video was about women’s health initiatives.
All the videos include experts from within the university; the latest one features Rabbi Esther Reed, senior associate director of Rutgers Hillel. Reed said she was contacted by the news and media relations office the day after the Oct. 27 mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and she immediately agreed to do the “admirable” project and wrote her own script.
“I wanted to do it because anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incidents are increasing in America in the last couple of years,” she told NJJN in a phone interview. “I saw this as an opportunity to get out a message about why people should care about anti-Semitism.”
In the video, a timer in the bottom left corner counts down from 60 seconds as Reed cites statistics that show when acts of hatred are perpetrated against the Jewish community, hatred becomes “normalized” and spreads to other communities.
After the clock hits zero, Reed closes with a famous quote from Elie Wiesel: “The opposite of hate is not love. It is indifference.” She adds, “Please don’t be indifferent.”
In the last couple years, the Rutgers University administration has been criticized for what was considered its tepid response to anti-Semitic incidents on campus and to members of the faculty who expressed anti-Semitic or anti-Israel viewpoints.
Dory Devlin, senior director of university news and media, said the video was sent to 22,500 people within the university and “tens of thousands” of alumni. As of press time, it was viewed more than 1,300 times on YouTube.
Heather Nover, a 2009 graduate of Rutgers University and director of teen engagement for the Hagalil region of United Synagogue Youth, watched the video on her Facebook news feed.
“I thought it was important, novel, and so relevant that Rutgers is spreading this message that needs to be spread: that Jews are part of the world community,” the Highland Park resident told NJJN in a phone interview. “It’s important to realize that when one group such as Jews is targeted or threatened, it harms everyone.”
To watch the video, go to bit.ly/2COzenI.