Israel Links Hillels Around the World
From Rio to Moscow to Haifa, the global Hillel community enthusiastically celebrated Israel's birthday this spring. Using everything from web broadcasts to rock concerts to arts and crafts projects, Hillels around the world found unique ways to express their solidarity with Israel's 60 years of historic independence. (read more)| (view video)Students Studying Abroad Share Passover in Rome
Does matzoh ball soup taste different in Italy? Eighty study abroad students found out this April when they gathered in Rome for Passover seders organized by Hillel students.
In its first programming effort targeted specifically at American students studying abroad, Hillel held two seders at the Jewish community center in the Trastavere area of Rome. The seders attracted capacity crowds both nights, and the eighty participants traveled to Rome from sites all over Europe and Israel. (read more) In Their Own Words: Reflections of Cornell Students in Ukraine
Whispered poetry. Bundled wheat. Cracked plaster. Superhero playdates. These are just a few of the images that struck the hearts of twenty Cornell University students visiting Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine this June.
The service learning trip, run in conjunction with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, took the students on a ten day journey where they met the community's young and old, visited monuments to its destruction and participated in continuing its rebirth. Through spending time in Dnepropetrovsk, these students now feel deeply connected to a community about which they previously knew very little.
Read more of the students' inspiring stories in the blog of their trip >>
FORMER SOVIET UNION
•Hillel Uruguay hosts 10 North American students for its annual Summer Spanish Program.
•Hillel Argentina holds Business and Finance seminar to teach networking and socially responsible business practices to participants.
•Hillel Rio's tzedek activities profiled by local TV station PUC.
•Dartmouth students travel to Ukraine to repair and rebuild cemeteries destroyed during the Holocaust. (read more)
•Florida Hillel sends students to Kharkov to volunteer with local community projects.
•Hillel Toronto students volunteer with Ethiopian children at the community center in Bat Yam, Israel.
•Carleton University JSA co-sponsors an on-campus WWII in Hungary: History and Remembrance lecture in conjuction with multiple university departments.
•Hillel Moscow students serve as models and designers in a spring fashion show of Jewish-inspired clothing.
•Khabarovsk Hillel holds an Israel at 60 seminar for 50 students featuring lectures, genealogy projects and sessions on modern Israel.
•Hillel Kharkov Birthright Israel alumni travel to Odessa to visit the Odessa Jewish Museum and spend time with local Jewish students.ISRAEL
•Emek Yezreel Hillel in Afula screens a documentary film about the Niv family, four of whose members were killed in Sinai in 2004. One of the surviving family members, an active Hillel participant, planned the event to be held on Israel's Memorial Day.
•Sapir Hillel sent students to collect clothes, books, and household items for community donations. (view video)
•The Hillel-Hecht Beith Midrash at Hebrew University, Mount Scopus sponsored a lecture by Nobel Prize winner Robert Aumann on the topic of Jewish creativity.
Thriving Jewish Life in Baku
I celebrated Israel's 60th Birthday in Baku, Azerbaijan. That sentence alone is an incredible one. Who, sixty years ago, would have imagined that a U.S. Democratic Party official would be in Azerbaijan for a conference on Democracy? Who, sixty years ago, would have imagined that a party hosted by an Israeli Ambassador in a majority Muslim country formerly part of the Soviet Union would be seen as a natural, festive occasion by the nation's diplomatic corps and government officials?
And it seemed just as unlikely that in this place, Baku, is a growing Hillel; yet I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with some of its wonderful activists during my visit. These students were charming, confident leaders. They were comfortable in their Judaism, in their role in the community and in their sense of self. They were, in many ways, no different than the best and brightest in my hometown of Washington, DC.
My conversations with these self-assured young people reinforced discussions I had with Jewish Azeris from across Baku's Jewish community about their sense of identity. From the "mountain Jews" of a nearby village to the elders gathered for Thursday minyan to the teenagers flourishing at the local Hillel, the people I met were both proud of their cultural identity as Jews and proud of their national identity as Azeris. Both these identities have a rich tradition, and both exist comfortably side-by-side. Amidst all the change swirling around the Jewish Azeris in the post-Soviet era, it was wonderful to experience a people that remain confident in who they are and in the strength of their community.
Susan Turnbull currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee. This Reflections column is adapted from a more extensive account of Susan's trip to Baku. (read more)
YOUR GLOBAL IQ?Hillel Tel Hai leadership students spend time with
What time does Shabbat begin in St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday, July 4?
a) 7:15 p.m.
b) 11:03 p.m.
c) 8:56 p.m.
d) 9:34 p.m. See Answer - Bottom of Page
an elderly resident of Kiryat Shmonah, helping her
prepare for Passover. (Photo Courtesy of Hillel Israel)
Meet Marcia Kelner Polisuk, Hillel Latin America Development Director
Marcia Kelner Polisuk has always been passionate about creating experiences for Jewish youth in Latin America. As the immediate past Director of Hillel Rio de Janeiro, Marcia helped to build the infrastructure for the now thriving center of Jewish life for Brazilian young adults. Since last July, Marcia's focus has shifted to raising funds for Hillels throughout Latin America, a position which she finds both challenging and exciting. Through her hard work over the past year, Marcia enabled Hillels in Latin America to increase regional programs and begin planning the first ever Latin America Regional Student Leaders Assembly, which will be held this August in Montevideo. Marcia shared, "It is so important to me to work within the Jewish community and help create new opportunities for the young people of Latin America - I could never imagine having a different job!" Marcia recently made a big move to Israel with her family, but she is excited to continue her work with Hillel in Latin America from across the globe!
Hillel's International Division
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ANSWER: b) 11:03 p.m. // St. Petersburg's latitude causes great variation in day length, including summer days as long as 19 hours!