Advocacy group plans to focus on educating student body about Israel

By Daniel Chavkin, staff writer, @dchav96

President Sam Koralnik and Engagement Chair Akiva Gebler, sophomore ecology and evolution specialization major, recruit members at Maryland Hillel’s Opening BBQ on Sept. 2. Photo courtesy of MIC.

The Maryland Israel Coalition isn’t a new organization at the University of Maryland, although it may seem that way. Formerly known as SHAZAM, or Shalom Zionists at University of Maryland, MIC has gone through a total rebranding, starting with its name.

“MIC was more appropriate,” said junior government and politics major Sam Koralnik, who is president of MIC. “We’ve only heard positive feedback.”

MIC is a student-run Israel advocacy group on campus, but Koralnik said he believed that SHAZAM didn’t sound like an Israeli advocacy group. “When people heard SHAZAM, they thought of music,” he said.  

While SHAZAM just provided a space to talk about Israel, MIC aims to expand its horizons. MIC is more focused on educating students about Israel rather than just stating their opinions, Koralnik said.

“The main difference between SHAZAM and MIC is that MIC focuses on the entire student body, not just Zionists at Hillel,” MIC member sophomore Aaron Neuman said. Neuman, who is enrolled in letters and sciences, said the group needed to make a change. “[MIC] makes the organization sound more professional and official.”

Sara Wolf, social chair of MIC, was not a big fan of the name at first. “I wasn’t really ecstatic about it,” the junior psychology and criminology and criminal justice major said. “There are other names like it.” However, Wolf said that so far people seem to like it.

In addition, Wolf said she believes the members have a much better plan for this year to expand the group.

“Last year we put way too much on our plates, and we spread ourselves way too thin,” she said. “This year we’re trying to really focus on a few higher-quality events and endeavors.”

The high holidays have delayed MIC’s events so far, but the group members have a lot planned for this month.

As social chair, Wolf is in charge of MIC’s social events, and she is particularly excited about what they have planned.

“We’ll be having general body meetings, coffee chats, and speakers,” she said. “It’s important that our group bond and has fun together.”

Neuman said he is looking forward to the coffee chats.

“We tackle big issues in these chats, which makes them extremely interesting and engaging,” he said.

MIC already tried to reach out to more than 20,000 students at this university through tabling at the First Look Fair and outside of McKeldin Library every Friday, Koralnik said. “We’re putting ourselves out there,” he said.

Additionally, Koralnik said he wants to make a difference on this campus. “I want to leave this a more educated place about Israel, regardless of opinion.”


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