Cal State junior stays in Israel

She had finished an intensive Hebrew-language course over the summer and was getting ready for the regular fall semester when she was told about Cal State's cancellation of the program just a day or two before the start of classes.

"Everyone was left hanging in the air," Kupferman recalled. "We were to go home immediately, and they would do all they could to have us leave immediately."

Her parents became responsible for the nearly $4,000 cost of Kupferman's tuition, previously assumed by Cal State. Ultimately, the money was refunded by the university, together with Kupferman's other expenses.

Despite the considerable pressure, all but one of the 11 Cal State students decided to stay in Israel and continue their studies in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

"I knew that nothing would make me leave," Kupferman wrote. "I have a supportive family as well as relatives in Israel."

Kupferman transferred to Tel Aviv University for the fall semester and returned to the Hebrew University for the current spring semester. She praised both universities for their help in adjusting tuition fees and course credits.

"I feel completely safe in Israel," she wrote. "I believe as long as you are careful and stay away from the dangerous places, you are fine. It is like any other country that has bad areas you stay away from. Here people know who is the enemy and are aware of the situation."

The decision by Kupferman and her friends to stay in Israel got a mixed reaction.

"Cal State was not thrilled, but the universities here were happy," she wrote. "We got mixed emotions from friends and family."

For the future, Kupferman plans to stay involved with Israel and the American Jewish community; she wants to be an educator and go to graduate school.