Elizabeth Anderson is a rising junior at the University of Texas, Austin, where she holds several leadership positions, including in the Latino Jewish Student Coalition. This summer, she is traveling to Latin America with Tracy Frydberg as part of Project Puente. To learn more about Project Puente, read Tracy's recent post about the initiative. Many people have asked me, "Why would a non-Jew spend so much time and energy on a project that requires visiting synagogues and JCCs in different countries?" I answer with a different reason every time.
When I saw the incredible potential in the Latino-Jewish Student Coalition (LJSC) at University of Texas, I began to realize why our partnership needs to spread to other campuses. There's nothing more encouraging than seeing two people with very different backgrounds finding common ground and connecting within a community. This is what happens at LJSC.
Furthermore, when I explain the historical context behind this coalition, I find that most people are surprised and want to know more. Jewish Latin America is somewhat of an untold story, and an intriguing one at that. What better way to share this story than to go to the root of it all and hear from these unique community members themselves?
As a political activist, I see where our two communities can help each other on a national level. As a student, I see how we can come closer at the campus level. As an international relations major, I get excited about all the interesting things there are to learn about the Jewish community and culture. Those are just a few reasons why a non-Jewish Latina would devote her summer, and subsequent school year, to Project Puente.