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Senator Becker and Assemblymember Berman Present Symbolic State Check to the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center

For immediate release:
JCC big check

SACRAMENTO – Today Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo) and Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) presented the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto with a ceremonial $300,000 check for funding secured by the Legislators in the state budget. The funding will support the PREP Fellowship Program, a local pilot program for teens who are preparing for college and are at risk of experiencing antisemitism. As antisemitism continues to skyrocket, this program will provide teens new tools to better prepare for their next chapter in life. 

“I'm proud to join Assemblymember Marc Berman to present a symbolic check to the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center's PREP Fellowship Program. This fellowship focuses on three main areas: wellness, living peacefully in community, and identity in the face of adversity. It teaches high school students of every background the skills to transition to adulthood and prepare them to navigate future challenges on college campuses or in other future endeavors, particularly when students are at risk of being discriminated against,” said Senator Becker (D-Menlo Park), Vice Chair, California Legislative Jewish Caucus.

“Jews represent approximately 3% of the California population but, according to CA Department of Justice data, 62.4% of religious based hate crimes in the state in 2022 were perpetrated against the Jewish community," said Assemblymember Marc Berman. "Unfortunately, antisemitic attacks have only skyrocketed to historic levels in the last six months since the October 7th attacks, making it critical that we support local teens who are likely to face harassment and discrimination just for being Jewish. I am grateful to the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center for creating the PREP Fellowship Program, and I'm glad we were able to get funding for it in the state budget. This important program will help local students in developing resiliency, which is a crucial skill for all young people, and particularly vital as antisemitic incidents have dramatically increased on college campuses and in society.” 

"PREP Fellowship has provided me with invaluable skills, not only in advocacy and for my empowerment as a Jewish person, but also in every day conversations and internal conflicts. I learned how to communicate effectively. I learned how to recognize bias. These are all extremely valuable tools for life, of course. However, at the end of the day, change begins with a person, and for that person to create change, they must be a leader. This fellowship has taught me how to be that leader, and I look forward to creating that change in my lifetime," said Noam Lazarov, PREP Fellowship participant.

“When we envisioned the PREP Fellowship program last spring, we knew we were onto something. The plan had been to run the program this spring, but then after October 7, our friends in the California Jewish Legislative Caucus encouraged us to move up the timeline and begin the program in November – and they were right. This program has been incredibly beneficial for high school juniors and seniors as they’re seeing the challenging situation on college campuses, wondering how they’ll fare, and then having their worries and concerns addressed by PREP. They’re coming away from our crash course with real life skills to deal with everything from mental distress and anxiety, conflict resolution and coalition building, to dealing with antisemitism and hate. We have helped train our next generation of leaders, and could not have done it without the support of the California State Legislature, starting with our friends in the California Jewish Legislative Caucus,” said Zack Bodner, President and CEO of the Oshman Family JCC.

“The PREP Fellowship is having a huge impact on the teens who are taking part. The focus of the program is on three competencies in particular: are learning how to have difficult conversations, including about antisemitism; learning how to stand up for what is important to them and to be leaders in their community; and learning how to recognize mental health issues in their peers and provide peer first aid. This cohort of teens is rising to these complicated challenges amazingly well, and we are so proud of them,” said Luba Palant, Senior Director of Culture, Learning & Community at the Oshman Family JCC.

The PREP Fellowship (Pride – Renewal – Education – Purpose) at the Oshman Family JCC is an ongoing, life-skills preparation program for high school juniors and seniors, aimed at helping them learn practical, applicable tools that will aid their transition when leaving home for college, the workforce and/or a gap year. The fellowship focuses on three main areas: wellness, living peacefully in community and identity in the face of adversity. Over the course of seven months, participants gather as a cohort for ten workshops and one spring retreat, during which they engage with a lineup of expert educators and professionals from Bay Area and national partner organizations. Fellows explore how to grow and confidently express their own unique and group identities, whether Jewish or any other identity, on college campuses or elsewhere in the world beyond their home, particularly when at risk of being marginalized or discriminated against for who they are.


The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center (OFJCC) on the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life serves the South Peninsula through educational, social, cultural, fitness, sports and other programs. The OFJCC is a multigenerational Jewish neighborhood where all are welcome, and which seeks to enrich lives, build community and inspire Jewish journeys. The OFJCC provides a common ground for individuals, Jewish institutions, and other local groups and organizations and individuals to work, learn, play and celebrate together for the betterment of the whole community. For more information, visit or call (650) 223-8700.