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Elliot Mathias Jewish Hero

5271 Votes for Elliot Mathias

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Elliot Mathias

Livingston, New Jersey

How is your Hero working to make the world a better place?

Elliot Mathias has an unparalleled way of connecting with Jewish college students, educating them, and inspiring them to not only become effective leaders in the pro-Israel movements on their university campuses, but moreover, to impress upon them taht it is their responsibility as members of the Jewish people to safeguard Israel's future. Elliot's unique ability to ignite a spark within even the most unaffiliated students to motivate them to step up and become tomorrow's Jewish leaders is exceptional. He is a master of Jewish leadership development in the most unassuming of ways. Ten years ago, Elliot recognized that the frontline of the PR battle for Israel was being waged on college campuses across North America and that Jewish students were not prepared to answer the difficult questions or combat anti-Israel rhetoric. On this premise, Elliot founded Hasbara Fellowships, the premiere organization whose sole focus is training upcoming Jewish student leaders to be effective pro-Israel activists on campus. Following an intensive two-week training program in Israel on mid-east history, politics, and including visits to strategic sites, students return to campus energized, confident, and with stronger Jewish identities. The training and education that Hasbara Fellowships has instilled in over 2,500 students has made an enormous impact bringing positive images of Israel to light and winning hearts and minds for Israel on campus. And as Elliot always says "tomorrow's policymakers attend our universities today."

How has your Hero impacted your life and inspired you?

I was a typical Jewish student on a vehemently anti-Israel campus who lacked the tools or knowledge to respond. Thankfully, participating in Hasbara's Israel training program gave me the confidence and skills to form the first pro-Israel group at Carnegie Mellon University. During my trip, Elliot's words inspired me to pursue a career in pro-Israel advocacy and Jewish leadership development. An astounding number of Hasbara Fellowships alumni work in the Jewish or pro-Israel field. Most importantly, Elliot taught me that we are a united Jewish people, and all accountable, with the imperative to help each other and safeguard our ancestral homeland.

What type of work does your Hero do?

Israel, Jewish education, identity, and culture, Youth