UF Hillel holds Spread Cream Cheese Not Hate event

Students say the event is more important than ever with anti-Semitism rates on the rise
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 5:52 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - UF Hillel hosted its regular Spread Cream Cheese Not Hate event today.

The event allowed students to stop by Turlington Hall and the UF Law School to grab a bagel in exchange for signing a pledge against all forms of hate.

“We care about putting a positive message in the University, how it’s an accepting community and we will not tolerate any forms of hate,” said UF Hillel Member, Ceci Edelberg. “It’s also a big opportunity to lift student voices and for students to share their experiences.”

The event has more meaning for students this year, as a study from the Anti-Defamation League notes a rise in anti-Semitism over the last three years.

Two high-profile acts of hate speech against jews have captured headlines in-and-around the UF community in the last six months.

An anti-Semitic message was projected outside last November’s Florida-Georgia football game.

A few months before that, some Gainesville residents were shocked when they found anti-Jewish propaganda around their neighborhoods.

“”If you had any questions about whether it existed or not, those questions are gone,” said Aaron Bosshardt, a UF Hillel board member. “We’ve seen events live, unfolding in front of us that show there is a serious issue, and it’s not enough to just discourage it or say you’re against it, you have to stand up.”

Despite the recent acts of anti-Semitism in-and-around the UF community, one student said she feels the university has been extremely supportive of its Jewish population.”

“We have such an amazing Hillel and such an amazing community that when each of these little things happened, I had a community that had my back,” said Edelberg. “Someone that I could go to and be like ‘oh my god, this happened. How do we tackle it? How do we talk about it? Because there’s anti-Semitism everywhere and the community that you’re surrounded with, the community that has your back, that’s what matters.”

Hillel nearly doubled their goal for the day with more than four thousand signatures.

“I think just because anti-Semitism is becoming more and more prominent and continuing to make headlines,” said another Hillel member, Romy Miller, “it’s even more important and it’s even more of a responsibility for us as Jewish individuals to make sure we’re making a difference in some way or at least advocating.”

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