Owls for Israel, Hillel host self-defense workshop

The Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach is part of an international Jewish college campus life organization.


Joelle Dwek (right) attempts to prevent a fake knife attack from Shelby Klein (left), while Adam Golden (middle) helps direct their movements. Photo courtesy of Betsy Lempert

Viviana Lopez, Contributing Writer

Two on-campus organizations held a workshop on Krav Maga, a self-defense system originally developed for the Israeli military, Tuesday evening.

The Hillel center of Broward and Palm Beach partnered with Owls for Israel to organize the event. The center is part of Hillel International: Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, which has branches at colleges all over the world.

Assistant Director of Western Hillel Canada Matan Boni started the workshop by asking students, “What is Krav Maga?”

He explained that its main purpose is “to stay alive, you use your head more than your muscle.”

The workshop started with a warm-up where students would try to restrain their partner’s movements. Boni also showed participants how to protect themselves during a knife attack.

FAU student Reuven Sardes said he attended the workshop because his family served in the Israeli army.

“I am Israeli,” Sardes said. “I enjoy the fact I can learn how to defend myself like my family has in Israel.”

Reuven Sardes (left) and Sam Avers run through a series of Krav Maga movements. Photo courtesy of Betsy Lempert

While the Hillel is a Jewish organization, it’s open to non-Jewish students regardless of religion.

Jewish Agency for Israel fellow to the Hillel center, Or Greenwald said, “Hillel is the Jewish center on campus, here to inspire jews and non-Jews.”

The same can be said for Owls for Israel, according to its Vice President Jonathan Satler.

“Owls for Israel is FAU’s pro-Israel group, we have a lot of members that aren’t Jewish,” Satler said. “We like to highlight in a lot of events the diversity of Israel.”

One thing Satler mentioned is that there is no specific face of Judaism, “There is no one way Jewish people look. There are Jewish people from Eastern Europe, Russia, Ethiopia … Wherever you go there [are] Jewish people.”

The workshop, held in the Hillel center Golden Pavilion room in the All-Night Study Center building on the FAU Boca campus, had around 20 students in attendance.

Viviana Lopez is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].