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The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

Kopp Wins Peace Award

Eli Kopp, founder of West Pos Jewish American Club, has won this years Peace Award.
Peace Awards
Eli Kopp, founder of West Po’s Jewish American Club, has won this year’s Peace Award.

With the war in Gaza, campus protests, and the recent rise of antisemitism around the country, the entire Jewish community is at the center of current events. In order to understand this we sat down with Eli Kopp who is a winner of the 18th annual FCPS Peace Award and the current leader of our school’s Jewish American Club. He has dedicated his time to combating antisemitism and fighting for social justice.

Last year on the morning of graduation, unknown students defaced the rock with anti-semitic messages and images. 

“That was kind of something that made me realize antisemitism was a real problem on campus,” Kopp said. “There were slurs and swastikas all over the rock.”

In response to this, he wrote a letter to the Mount Vernon Gazette addressing antisemitism and began making efforts around the school to create cross-cultural understanding in order to counter bigotry and stereotypes. He has continued work to bring attention to the issue locally and across the state.

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“Recently we did an event with a Holocaust survivor and we have done a postcard drive to counter voter suppression which is a big problem in Virginia,” Kopp said.

The goal of this organization is to give people an understanding of life being Jewish. Kopp stated in one of his recent speeches that he hopes he can help people put a “human face” to Judaism which is the best way to eliminate bias and discrimination.

When the brutal October 7th attack happened in Israel it came as a shock to the Jewish community. This was only made worse when the ensuing war in Gaza led to widespread protests on campuses and a rise in antisemitism.

“We try to focus mainly on antisemitism rather than the actual conflict in the Middle East just because it is such a contentious issue,” said Kopp. “We don’t want to alienate anyone or make anyone feel like an outsider.”

Even with high tensions in the Middle East and in the U.S., everyone is welcome in the JAC and the goal is to unite people and educate them on antisemitism and social justice rather than divide them. Kopp hopes that in the future the school goes more in depth on issues of antisemitism and that more students are educated on its dark past so that the same mistakes aren’t repeated in the future.

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