New Horizons

Jewish Student Union founder Tad Lambert works to promote understanding



Junior Tad Lambert talks to senior Nevaya Davis about Jewish Student Union (JSU) Sept. 8 in the mall. JSU is a club for Jewish and non-Jewish people to get together and talk about Jewish culture and hangout. “I have thought about [starting JSU] since the end of my freshman year,” Lambert said. “At the beginning of sophomore year I just said let’s do it,” photo by Ashley Broils

Izak Zeller and Veronica Meiss

In the early morning in the bright and cheery mall, people crowded around the Jewish Student Union (JSU) table. 

They were asking all sorts of questions, mainly about what it is about. As JSU president Tad Lambert stood, answering questions, he got to see the student population and how little they knew about Judaism. 

“JSU is a great way to get more involved at Northwest,” Lambert said. “It’s a great way to get together and learn about Jewish holidays and talk with Jewish people and learn about all these Jewish things you may not have heard about.”

In middle school, Lambert dealt with swastikas drawn in textbooks and Holocaust jokes. People would talk about how Hitler did nothing wrong while sitting next to him. All of this fueled his motivation to start the club. When the shooting occurred at the Overland Park Jewish Community Center, Lambert was only seven years old.

“I remember that conversation with my parents on what to do if someone asked me about it because I’m Jewish and it was an anti-Semitic event,” Lambert said. “I’ve dealt with it my entire life. I’ve had to think about whether to tuck my Star of David chain in for my own safety.”

Lambert does not believe that the Jewish population are represented proportionally in the media and, as a result, are being left out of the conversation.

“Right now, anti-Semitism is on the rise in America,” Lambert said. “It’s not really talked about, but it’s something I have personally faced in the area and at Northwest. All these social movements for equality are great, but it seems Judaism and the Jewish people are just left out on an international and national state.”

Lambert hopes to see increased support for Judaism as well as other religions in the future.

“It’s very hard to think of what one school’s administration can do besides building cultural awareness,” Lambert said. “Black Student Union’s Black History Month assembly is doing great things for them and it’s something I think JSU should talk to administration about for all religions, not just Judaism, to spread more religious awareness.”

Membership in JSU is not limited to Jewish students. Anyone can come learn about Judaism. 

No regular meeting times for the group have been set. Those who are interested should contact Lambert or sponsor Ben Pabst.