Alumni & Chapter News

Brothers pair with Chabad on antisemitism education

Submitted by the Chapter

Brothers from the Rho Chapter at University of Illinois were part of a recent powerful antisemitism education program.

Chapter President Jonah T. Long, 2024, shared the impact of the chapter brothers meeting with Illinois basketball legend and former NBA player Meyers Leonard as he returned to campus.

“Leonard faced a pretty big controversy last year when he was livestreaming himself playing video games and used an antisemitic slur – not knowing of the significance of the word. Since the incident, Meyers has done a lot of work to educate and better himself,” Brother Long said.

“Upon his return to (Illinois), Leonard made it a point to stop by Chabad and meet with the rabbi here,” Brother Long said. Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel is a brother of ZBT and the Chabad rabbi at Illinois. He’s very involved with the chapter.

“The rabbi reached out to me and invited the ZBT brothers to Leonard’s visit. We attended and it was extremely powerful to say the least. To hear Meyers’ talk about how he has become more educated and hear how apologetic he was for his mistake was very moving. After the Q&A with the rabbi, a few of us hung around after the event and talked with Meyers for a bit.”

According to an article from The News-Gazette of Champaign, the appearance lasted two hours, beginning with casual conversation before holding a more formal event attended by University Chancellor Robert Jones, who spoke about the importance of acceptance and compassion for others, as well as learning from mistakes.

Leonard mentioned to the students at Chabad that he understood people had every right to be upset with him. And, he said, he hoped they learned about how he built inroads with Jewish communities and learned about the culture and religion away from cameras and social media.