Twelve organizations, including the Atlanta Jewish Times, participated in the launch event to show 450 students from Weber and Atlanta Jewish Academy different ways in which they can advocate for Israel.
PRISM is a student-led movement that aims to promote Israel education and engagement among Jewish teenagers. Weber seniors Talia Katz and Ilan Palte started the organization and its Alef Chapter at Weber, and the goal is to expand to other Jewish high schools to strengthen American Jewish teens’ connections among themselves and with Israel. PRISM aims to prepare teens to be effective, knowledgeable advocates for Israel when they reach college.
Palte said Weber’s senior trip to Israel and Poland showed him that American high school students need to understand Israel better.
“I have always been connected to Israel,” Katz said, “but I realized that once we leave our small high school communities, we need to be able to grasp the complex and political issues about Israel. I hope that PRISM gives high school students a lens to learning why it’s important to have a Jewish state.”
Rabbi Ed Harwitz, Weber’s head of school, said the launch of PRISM and the Israel engagement event “reflected two important aspects of Weber’s mission: cultivating student leadership and reinforcing our relationship with the land and people of Israel. I am very proud of the work of Talia, Ilan and their fellow students for establishing PRISM as a legacy to Weber and look forward to Weber students who will build on their work.”
At the Israel engagement event, teens asked questioned, learned and became part of the conversation on Israel, Palte said. “We want PRISM to be about doing, translating the ideas and hopes of our peers into meaningful and impactful action.”
Katz added: “I hope our event started a movement where PRISM chapters are launched in high schools across the country. I am proud that Weber is the first Jewish high school in North America to have the first PRISM chapter.”