When the fourth Israeli Hillel opened at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya in January, the stakeholders expected an active first semester for the new center. But no one could have predicted the overwhelming enthusiasm from IDC students, and the campus is abuzz about the success of Hillel at IDC in such a short period of time.
“After several meetings and discussions about Hillel at IDC, I began to recruit students for future programs. To my pleasant surprise, student response was very positive. We already have a student board of 20 members, and about 500 students participating in our many activities,” said Yishai Ashkenazi, the director of Hillel at IDC.
Ashkenazi first established Hillel’s presence on campus with a “Dynamic Campaign Day,” in which he invited Herzliya Mayor Yael German and incoming IDC President Amnon Rubinstein to join students in painting a star that represents their personal vision of Judaism. The individual stars came together to form one large painting that was publicly displayed on campus. Since that day, Hillel at IDC has featured:
The Israeli Syndrome - This program aims to expose students to various minority groups in Israel, including the Israeli Arab, Bedouin and Druze communities through field trips and discussions.
Shavuot Seminar – Students spent three days working the land during the harvest season on a nearby kibbutz. They visited orchards and a winery and attended a variety of lectures on themes such as modern Israeli-Jewish identity.
CoolNoa – These movie nights show popular films followed by a discussion of contemporary Jewish themes and values. Themes have included gender equality in Judaism, the hardships of the occupation, and terrorism and human rights.
Chef Course - This program offers students the chance to hone their culinary skills in the kitchen and emphasizes Jewish cuisine from around the world. Each month, the program hosts a different famous Israeli chef who tells his/her own story. The chef then teaches students how to cook a delicious Jewish recipe from somewhere in the Jewish world. The final event in this course is a food festival hosted on campus. All of the proceeds support a local soup kitchen in Herzliya.
Pardes: An Invitation to Learn Judaism – These weekly lectures focus on the history and philosophy of Judaism. Lecture topics include the Bible, the Prophets, Mishna, Talmud, Megillot, Sanhedrin, the First and Second Temples and traditional and modern Jewish philosophy.
Community Service - Each month Hillel students take part in various community service programs, such as adopting new Ethiopian olim (immigrant) families from the absorption center in Ra'anana and teaching English to the youth in the community.
Leaders in the Bible – This course allows students to look at biblical leaders and discuss what can be learned from them today.
Friday Night Dinners - Once a month IDC Hillel organizes Shabbat dinners, including a Kabbalat Shabbat service led by Hillel students. This is a wonderful opportunity for Israeli and overseas students to get to know one another.
Ashkenazi, who credits the IDC administration, Hillel Israel Steering Committee Chair Yossi Ciechanover and Hillel in Israel Associate Vice President and Director Yossie Goldman for helping make the new Hillel a triumph, is looking forward to continuing growth and success in the coming year. He is also eager to meet visiting students, Hillel professionals and supporters and allow them to see Hillel at IDC’s potential for themselves.
“We would like to take this opportunity to invite any Hillel members from abroad to come visit Israel, and especially Hillel at IDC. Apart from the beautiful campus, great students and the gorgeous beaches of Herzliya, Hillel at IDC is a growing family and we would be happy to welcome you into our home,” he said.