Students engage in team-building exercises at Hillel Institute, 2010.
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life plans to bring more than 1,000 student activists, professionals and lay leaders to Washington University in St. Louis, July 31 through August 7th, for the Hillel Institute, a unique conference that convenes student and professional training at the same site. Participants will discuss current campus issues such as fostering civility on campus, promoting intergroup understanding, educating campuses about Israel and promoting Jewish identity among Jewish students of all backgrounds. Hillel Institute emphasizes educational methods that are hands-on, immersive and simulate real-world experience.
Over the course of the week-long Institute, Hillel will train hundreds of Jewish students in how to engage their peers and help them advance their Jewish journeys through meaningful conversations and experiences. Many of these young people will go on to help needy communities at home or abroad through Hillel-sponsored alternative breaks or will travel to Israel for the first time through Taglit-Birthright Israel.
Representatives from more than 40 of Hillel’s community partner organizations are expected to participate, including those from the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, the Israel on Campus Coalition, the Jewish Disaster Response Corps, the Laugh In Peace Tour and the Progressive Jewish Alliance & Jewish Funds for Justice.
Hillel professionals from across North America, Israel, the former Soviet Union, Latin America and Europe will attend to share their common challenges and techniques. Jewish Agency for Israel Fellows, recent Israeli college graduates who work on American college campuses, will gather together before they are dispersed across the continent. At the conference, Hillel will name a number of professionals as Richard M. Joel Exemplars of Excellence and mark significant career milestones.
Many of Hillel’s top international benefactors and Board members will be present in St. Louis to see first-hand how students and professionals are trained to fulfill Hillel’s mission: To enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish community and the world. Hillel President and CEO Wayne L. Firestone will give separate plenary addresses to students and professionals.
“This will be an immersive experience for professionals and students alike,” explains Hillel President Wayne L. Firestone. “We want to provide all participants with the opportunity to have a meaningful Jewish experience in St. Louis that will touch their lives and that they will carry back to their campuses.”