BC Students Seek to Relaunch Jewish Student Union

Landerholm Circle roundabout in summer
Landerholm Circle courtesy of Bellevue College

Two Bellevue College students, Esti Katzevman and Kate Goldstein, are seeking to re-launch the dormant Jewish Student Union (JSU) club on campus this year. 

Goldstein, who was attempting to join JSU herself, got the idea after finding out about the club’s current situation. “I found a Facebook group and told them how happy I was to find them,” she said, “and the president wrote me back and said all the club members had graduated.”

Katzevman has a similar story. “I got really excited when I found out there was a JSU club,” she said. “When I emailed them, no one emailed back. When I found out it was dormant, I decided to restart it.” 

Initially, Goldstein and Katzevman didn’t know about each other. It was only as they were both working to restart the club that they found each other and started working together. 

Goldstein and Katzevman believe the existence of JSU on campus is important. “It’s about representation and accessibility for Jews and anyone curious about Jewishness,” Goldstein said. “We want to create a safe space for people to land and feel represented.” 

Although no formal meeting schedule has yet been made, Goldstein emphasized that JSU is planned to be low commitment, saying the club might meet online once a month, and maybe get together once a quarter in person for a Shabbat dinner. They also plan to keep the Facebook group that has the group members’ contact information.

Another goal that Goldstein and Katzevman have is for the club to be inclusive. “Anyone is welcome to reach out to us,” she said. “They don’t have to be Jewish.”

Relating to inclusivity, Katzevman and Goldstein discussed their different Jewish backgrounds. Goldstein comes from “Reformed Judaism,” which is a more liberal form of Judaism. “I go to synagogue in my blue jeans,” she said. This contrasts with Katzevman, who describes herself as “Modern Orthodox.” “I’ve only ever been to very small Jewish private schools, so Bellevue College is a big change,” she said. “Kate and I are from two different Jewish identities, but we are both still Jewish.”

Goldstein and Katzevman want to emphasize that JSU is not officially open yet and needs more people. They need at least five members for BC to declare them a club. 

Goldstein wants the club to be kept alive after it is launched. “We are carrying the torch right now,” she said. “In two years, I’ll be looking for another president to take that torch and carry JSU on.” 

If you have any questions, contact Kate Goldstein at kate.goldstein@bellevuecollege.edu.