Goodbye Tentifada, Hello Mariachi

Israeli Mariachi Band Brings the Light to UPenn and Times Square in Celebration of Israeli Independence Day

Aliza Licht

5/23/20243 min read

Philadelphia, PA, and New York City, May 14th - Even as parts of the University of

Pennsylvania's campus remain protected behind police and fences to keep them safe from

Palestinian activists, Jewish Penn students refuse to live in fear and are celebrating Israel

Independence Day today.

What started as a student response to the bedlam created by illegal pro-Palestinian

encampments on UPenn’s campus, the "Fund a Mariachi Band at UPenn" GoFundMe, reached

a staggering $47,000 in just two days, propelled by an Instagram post from New York-based

marketer and author Aliza Licht. The student was shocked and due to his final exams and

logistical challenges, he canceled it and opted to refund all the donations.

Undeterred, Licht stepped in to fulfill UPenn students' dreams of having a Mariachi band on

campus as part of her “Break the Hate” inclusive social initiative. She started a new GoFundMe

campaign titled "Building Jewish Pride and Resilience on Our College Campuses".

Licht and a grassroots coalition of students, alumni, community members, and other supporters

raised over $27,000 in small donations over three days and hired Mariachi Jerusalem, an

acclaimed Latino Israeli Mariachi band, to call attention to the diversity within the Jewish

community at a time of extreme racism toward Jewish students.

The band gave an impromptu performance at the University of Pennsylvania this morning, with

an encore performance later in the day in Times Square in New York City. The performances

were timed to coincide with Israel's Independence Day. While the band performed, popular and

tasty Israeli snacks, Bamba and Bisli, targeted by BDS efforts, were handed out to passers-by,

amplifying Penn’s statement last week that “Penn remains unequivocally opposed to


“We need to give our Jewish students on campus a sense of pride and belonging," says Licht.

We aim to remind everyone of the power of coming together, showing resilience in the face of

challenges, leading by example, and showing our Jewish students that we are proud of our

heritage and Israel.

Any additional funds raised through the campaign will also benefit the missions of the Lawfare

Project/End Jew Hatred, with support from the Israeli American Council, extending the

initiative's impact beyond campus borders.

“This has been a difficult year for Penn and the City of Brotherly Love,” said Jonathan Berland, a

Penn alumni. “Hate against Jews at the University of Pennsylvania or anywhere else is

unacceptable. We expect Penn’s Administration and Trustees to do much more than they have.

We demand more concrete action and results. Sometimes, you have to stand up and speak out

against hate. Sometimes, you have to stand up and sing. Today, the music wins.”

“The Jew-hatred faced by the Jewish community at UPenn this past school year has been

astounding, and together with our activists and partners, we will continue to stand up and fight

for Jewish civil rights,” said Michelle Ahdoot, Director of Programming and Strategy at the

#EndJewHatred movement. “Rather than cower in fear, the Jewish community is empowered

and proud, and today’s initiative embraces that pride embodies joy, and is embedded in the

concept that our love is so much greater than their hate.”

“The Israeli-American Council (IAC) is proud to support all Jewish students and faculty who are

experiencing ongoing and escalating anti-Semitism on campuses across the country. In the past

two weeks alone, we have mobilized more than 13,000 community members in gatherings

across the US to support our students and Israel and to stand against antisemitism. We are

proud to see the efforts of the students and are excited to collaborate and support them at

UPenn,” said Aya Shechter, Chief Programming Officer at IAC.

"As we navigate through some of the most challenging times for the Jewish community and our

students on college campuses, we have an exciting opportunity to uplift and inspire," Licht adds.

"By funding this initiative, we aim to remind everyone of the power of coming together, even in

the face of challenges, fostering a sense of joy, community, and belonging.”

Supporters are invited to contribute to the campaign, knowing that their generosity will directly

fund events that inspire joy, promote unity, and foster resilience among Jewish students on

college campuses nationwide.


Aliza Licht @alizalichtxo

Jonathan Berland

End Jew Hatred:

James Lambert

Rubenstein Public Relations, Inc.



Amir Silber