AvatarWritten by: Student Life

Jewish at HW

My name is Miro and I am an 8th grader at Harvard-Westlake. During times like this, it is sometimes hard to find your space; in this blog, I will talk about my and others’ Jewish experiences at the Harvard-Westlake Middle School.

At the Middle School, there is JCAAC. The JCAAC stands for the Jewish Culture and Anti-Semitism Awareness Club. This club meets on Wednesdays, and everyone is welcome. In our club meetings, we go from discussing the rising anti-Semitism to celebrating Jewish holidays and playing fun Kahoots.

As part of this blog, I created an anonymous Google form along with my friend Tali to acquire experiences from different members of the JCAAC. Thirty-four people answered the questions on the form, which pleasantly surprised us because it was much more than we were expecting. The first section of the form worked by having different statements in which the respondent could answer from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” 

We found that 93.5% of respondents answered “agree” or “strongly agree” about feeling safe as a Jewish person at Harvard-Westlake. Around 80.5% of respondents felt safer being Jewish at Harvard-Westlake than outside it. 47% percent of respondents answered that they go to JCAAC often, while 52% responded that they did not or they went sometimes. Around 73.5% feel comfortable expressing their religion at Harvard-Westlake outside of the Jewish Club and 70.6% agree that HW is taking the correct approach to deal with rising worldwide anti-semitism. Lastly, 91.2% of respondents felt as if Harvard-Westlake made an effort to include people from all backgrounds, including Jewish ones, in assemblies and events. 

Finally, I’ll move on to the last, optional section. Around 80% of respondents identified as Ashkenazi Jewish (European Descent), 14.7% identified as Sephardic Jewish (Spanish/Iberian Descent), and 14.7% also identified as Mizrahi Jewish (Middle Eastern & North African Descent). Just shy of 9% answered they weren’t sure. In terms of level of observance, 56% are Reform Jewish, 28% Conservative, and 15% aren’t sure. Almost 92% have had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or plan to have one. 

My personal experience at Harvard-Westlake being Jewish has been amazing so far. It is really beautiful how we have people from all sorts of backgrounds at our school and it can help us to understand each other better. I came from Brawerman (a Jewish school in LA) and thought it would be a really hard change but in reality, it was much easier than I thought it would be. Thanks for reading!

(Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)
Tags: , Last modified: February 20, 2024