Eight years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Florida Sen. Ted Deutch warned Jewish Americans at UF Hillel about the dangers of Iran.
The Democratic senator from Boca Raton addressed more than 250 UF students at the weekly Shabbat dinner.
Between bites of challah bread and sips of matzah ball soup, people talked about international relations.
"As a Jew and an American, I view Iran as a very big threat to Israel and America's future," said Corey Berkin, a UF sophomore.
"Iran's leaders are opposed to providing America access to friendship," he said. "They're a road block."
Guest speakers or performers are invited to entertain the students every Friday, but Deutch is the first state senator to come to Shabbat.
Keith Dvorchik, the executive director at UF Hillel, extended an invitation to the senator to speak in April after hearing him speak about Iran at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference. Dvorchik thought students would benefit from hearing the senator speak on the threat Iran poses to U.S. and Israeli security.
As the senator spoke to students, he ensured them that he was taking every measure possible to make sure what happened on Sept. 11 would never happen again.
"Without foreign investment, Iran's energy business collapses," Deutch said. "We have to use economic power to avoid having to use military power in the future."
Ending his speech on a positive note, Deutch said that he has faith in today's college students because they usually understand the world better than anyone. He encouraged students not to be afraid to talk with their elected officials about the issue of Iran.
"We've got one opportunity to prevent Iranians from developing nuclear weapons," he said, "and that opportunity is now."