By Aviva Perlman
Viktoria "Vika" Dolburd, the recently elected chair of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), speaks the same language as Hillel. In fact, she speaks the same languages.
Born in Russia, raised in Germany, with work experience in Latin America and now an Israeli immigrant, Vika, 24, understands the global issues that confront Jewish students. She recently spent two days at Hillel's Schusterman International Center discussing how Hillel can continue to collaborate with WUJS to advance the interests of Jewish college students around the world.
WUJS is an umbrella organization of Jewish student unions outside North America. Unlike Hillels, which rely on professional leadership, WUJS affiliates are student-run and student-led. Hillel has been working with WUJS over the past few years to create both Canadian and American Jewish student unions of elected student leaders that will eventually become WUJS affiliates.
The push for an American affiliate came from the students, Dolburd explained.
"Now that we know the need is here, the next step is to figure out what the mission of the new organization could be," Dolburd said. "We need to work with Hillel and all other Jewish student groups to establish campuses interested in becoming part of the organization."
Dolburd hopes to start on the local level by sending Hillel and WUJS student representatives to work on projects together in areas such as Latin America. Hillel would provide the structure and student services and WUJS would be in charge of planning the programs and organizing the agenda.
"In order for both the organizations to be more efficient we have to work together. We have already created a basis for working together," Dolburd said. "I'm here for the next step, to show we can be good partners."
Aviva Perlman is a junior at American University and an intern in Hillel's communications department.