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University of Florida Hillel Combats Antisemitism with ‘Spread Cream Cheese, Not Hate’ Event

Student leaders at the University of Florida (UF) are preparing for the Fifth Annual Spread Cream Cheese, Not Hate® Bagel Day Program in an effort to combat record levels of antisemitism on college campuses.

Rabbi Jonah ZinnRabbi Jonah ZinnSpread Cream Cheese, Not Hate® is a program established by University of Florida Hillel to proactively combat antisemitism through education, outreach, awareness, and partnerships.

UF students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and community members are invited to sign the pledge — in connection with National Bagel Day — to “combat antisemitism and all forms of hate” and commit to keep campus and the broader community “welcoming and safe places for all.” Signers of the pledge receive a free bagel and cream cheese.

“The bagel is an invitation into conversation,” said Rabbi Jonah Zinn, executive director of UF Hillel. “Our initiative gives students a platform and shared language to have difficult conversations about antisemitism. Everyone who signs the pledge does so after a conversation with our trained student volunteers about antisemitism and how to play a direct role in combating antisemitism at UF and in their own communities.”

More than 7,000 people have signed the pledge since the program’s 2020 inception, with 40% of the signers identifying as non-Jewish allies. Pledge signers receive additional resources and opportunities to enhance their learning throughout the year.

UF Hillel anticipates training more than 325 Jewish and non-Jewish student volunteers. The students participate in a facilitated workshop during which time they learn about Judaism, the history of antisemitism, and practice their conversation and outreach skills.

“This year's Bagel Day outreach program feels more important than any other year,” said Acadia Schwartz, a UF student who serves as the 2024 Overall Student Director for Bagel Day and has volunteered in past years for Spread Cream Cheese Not Hate® “I hope that the power of Bagel Day encourages Jewish students to stand up for their community and proudly display their Jewish pride. I hope the many allies who will be standing alongside us understand the critical importance of their partnership, especially this year.”

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