Written by Jennifer Feldman

Year after year in the Western Jewish community, Israel On Campus’s Dinner and Discussions are of the most successful and widely attended events. Throughout this past school year, IOC at Western has hosted six dinners discussing topics ranging from terror and extremist groups in Israel, to debunking the Apartheid Week narrative, all over Kosher (meat!!) dinners. Students pack the Hillel house to engage in these topics.

Despite the busy time of the school year, over 65 students filled the room for the last Dinner and Discussion of 2015/2016. We had the unique opportunity to host Marom Mekenzy and hear his personal story. Marom is the current owner of HaSimta Bar in Tel Aviv on Dizengoff Street where the terrorist shooting took place earlier this year. He discussed how this tragedy affected his personal life and how it affected the community surrounding the bar. He explained that many came together after the terror attack to show solidarity with HaSimta Bar and demonstrate that terrorism will not defeat them.

He also shared interesting stories as a member of the secret service team for the Prime Minister’s office. He recounted stories of being in Switzerland, being on high alert due to the potential terrorist threat caused by the mountainous landscape. Finally, he shared his experience serving in Gaza and discussed the broader moral dilemmas of war, focusing on the soldiers our age and the major decisions that they are forced to make. We were given hypothetical situations that soldiers are often found in, and were forced to make split second decisions proving that there is often no one right answer under these circumstances. Marom has been through so much living in Israel, and his stories and experiences helped relay the reality of life in Israel to the Western community. His presentation and questions nurtured stimulating and important discussion. We look forward to more Dinner and Discussions like this in the upcoming school year.