Danit Sibovits, 32, has been on the front lines of helping Jewish students as an attorney, and now supports the State of Israel through the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.
“I grew up in an extremely Zionist home,” says Sibovits, remembering “my mom crying while watching [television when] Israel was at war. I have an innate love for Israel and feel really proud of my heritage.”
A graduate of Binghamton University and St. John’s School of Law, where she was president of the Jewish Law Students Association, the Upper West Sider worked with the district attorneys of Brooklyn and the Bronx, and then spent a year in Israel, immersing herself in the culture. Returning to the States, she joined the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C. as a staff attorney, fighting anti-Semitism (and then experienced a “painful” example of it herself. A fellow in her apartment building introduced himself in the elevator and asked her name. “Upon hearing my name was Danit, he asked, ‘What kind of name is that?’ I responded that Danit is an Israeli name. Shockingly, his answer was, ‘Well ... I have a lot of things to say about that, but we don’t have enough time.’ I was extremely taken aback.”)
At the Brandeis Center, she investigated and managed cases of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity at federally funded colleges and universities, then taking legal action, if needed, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. She successfully represented students at Brooklyn College who were forcibly removed from an anti-Israel event, “and falsely accused of disruptive behavior.” They were successful, Sibovits says, “because the students were willing to stand up and speak out, which unfortunately is not always what we experience. We have to empower [Jewish students] to have the confidence to speak up for themselves.”
Sibovits also earned a spot on AIPAC’s Young Leadership Committee in Washington and New York. In 2014, Sibovits became the director for the Center of Israel Engagement at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey in Paramus.
“We are such a unique community that comes together in times of need,” says Sibovits. “That’s what inspires me — when we rally around our community.”
Laugh out loud: Sibovits performs comedy and studies improv at the Washington Improv Theater in D.C., and now at Manhattan’s Upright Citizens Brigade improv and sketch comedy group.
Gregory H. Stanton Professor Stanton has received degrees from Oberlin College, Harvard Divinity School, Yale Law School and a masters and doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2001-2002).