Our History and Vision
Be The Narrative launched in 2022 as a national organization, yet its roots go back to 1992 when a local Student to Student program was introduced by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of St. Louis. Conceived by Batya Abramson Goldstein, former Executive Director of the JCRC, Student to Student aimed to create positive perceptions of Judaism through interactive peer-to-peer classroom presentations. Her idea was to have high school students from different branches of Judaism come together to share their personal stories in high schools with few if any Jewish students. The program delivered on her vision and was later expanded nationwide through a grant from The Natan Fund. Independent research shows that nearly every student who attends a Student to Student presentation says that it positively impacts their knowledge of and attitude toward Jews and Judaism.
Since its inception, Student to Student has empowered thousands of Jewish high school students to help dispel stereotypes about Judaism and reduce antisemitism. Through their classroom presentations, these Jewish students also gain valuable leadership and public speaking experience.
Former board chairs of the JCRC in St. Louis, Joe Pereles and John Kalishman, witnessed first-hand the success of Student to Student and the impact the program had on both Jewish Student Presenters and non-Jewish students in the classroom. Joe and John also understood that expanding the program to meet growing interest from other cities required resources and focus that were beyond the mission and scope of the JCRC. With that in mind, they led the effort to co-found Be The Narrative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that brings the Student to Student program into the national arena.
Education – We come together to teach others about Judaism while strengthening our bonds within the Jewish community.
Understanding/Affirmation – We respect other people’s views and beliefs and understand the humanity in ourselves and others.
Empowerment – Through support and guidance, we empower people to work together to create positive social change.
Leadership – We encourage participants to lead and inspire others by doing something proactive, dynamic, and meaningful.