2009 ISSUE IX
Spring Breakers Trade Local Parties for Global Service
Over the past few years, there has been a surge in the popularity of "Alternative Spring Breaks", where college students trade Caribbean cruises and lavish ski trips for the chance to travel to help communities in need.
This year, Hillel's alternative spring break numbers continued to soar, but even more exciting was the growth in the diversity of global destinations. (read more
Russian-Speaking Jews Connect at Chicago Shabbaton
From February 20-22, 2009, over 100 Russian-speaking Jewish students gathered in Chicago for Chicago Hillel's sixth annual Russian Shabbaton. The Russian Hillel initiative seeks to foster and maintain the growth of a vibrant Russian Jewish community within greater Chicago's broader Jewish community by planning social, educational, and cultural events for Russian-speaking Jewish college students and young adults. Yasha Moz, a member of Hillel's International Division interviewed Genia Solovyova, the Director for Chicago's Russian Hillel program and the organizer of the Shabbaton, and Marina Rykhlin, a participant and senior at the University of Illinois-Chicago, about their experiences. (read more
JAFI Awards Hillel Israel Fellows
The Jewish Agency for Israel bestowed upon two Hillel professionals its 2009 "Shlichim Mitztaynim" (outstanding emissaries) award for their work on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people. The honorees are Orange County Hillel Israel Fellow Tzvi Raviv and Hillel Uruguay Israel Fellow Nati Sperber. Both recipients have gone beyond the narrow requirements of their job descriptions to promote a positive image of Israel and the Jewish community on campus, in the community, and beyond. (read more
•On April 1, 2009, the Honorable Sallai Meridor, Israel's Ambassador to the United States visited Texas Hillel, the Topfer Center for Jewish Life at The University of Texas at Austin. Meridor, who earlier in the day met with Texas Governor Rick Perry, spoke to a crowd of more than 200 students and community members regarding the future of the Middle East and commended Texas Hillel's Texans For Israel program for their outstanding pro-Israel advocacy. (read more)
• Jeff Bicher was recently appointed as the new Executive Director of Hillel Montreal. Jeff has been working with Hillel Montreal since mid-September as the Interim Managing Director.
• Hillel's Global Campus Initiative is still accepting fall 2009 intern applications through May 4, 2009 for North American students studying in London and Buenos Aires. (application)
• Three American students active in Hillel joined the European Union of Jewish Students delegation to the Durban II Conference in April. The group of nearly 300 students attended meetings with top world leaders and advocated on behalf of the State of Israel.
• UJS and Hillel delivered nearly two thousand Shabbat meals to Jewish students across the British Isles on February 13, 2009. Each Shabbat kit contained everything required for the perfect Friday night meal -- soup, roast chicken, rice and vegetables, grape juice and challah, candles, a newly designed 'how to' Friday night companion, finished off with homemade desserts.
• UJS and Hillel launched a new Jewish student academic journal, Eilu v' Eilu. The journal seeks to stimulate debate on a variety of Jewish topics of interest to students in the UK. (read more)
• Hillel Buenos Aires hosted a seder for an international group of over 50 students on the second night of Passover. The seder, held in English and Hebrew, gave the mixed group of local and study abroad students an opportunity to share their own Passover customs and learn how rituals differ around the world.
• Over 430 young people attended Hillel Rio’s "Hillelwood" Purim Party. (photos)
• Hillel Argentina recently published the "GPS Travel Guide" for Jewish study abroad students in Buenos Aires and Cordoba City. The Guide includes maps, transportation, leisure, volunteer opportunities and Jewish life resources.
• Over 100 students at Beit Hillel in Jerusalem attended an event in memory of Julian Sandler z"l and his father on April 1, 2009. The community-building event included story telling focusing on spirits and Jewish mysticism through humor, text study and theater.
• Hillel at Ben Gurion University is uniting Israeli and Arab students through a new initiative, Playing Together (Menagnim B'Yachad). This initiative brings together a group of Jewish and Arab student musicians each week to share musical cultures, play traditional pieces, and collaborate to create new music. (listen to a short clip)
• An Israeli student participant at UJC's 2008 GA recently fostered a partnership between Tel Aviv Hillel and Jeremy's Circle, an organization that supports the children of families dealing with illness. Almost all of the student volunteers are themselves children of cancer patients, thus providing a circle of volunteers who give back the kind of help they once received. (learn more)
FORMER SOVIET UNION
• A Baltimore, Maryland boy gave English books purchased with his Bar Mitzvah money to Harbor 2 Harbor
Odessa participants this past January. On March 10th, during a Purim celebration, the students hand-delivered the books to a local orphanage in Odessa, Ukraine.
• Hillel Saint-Petersburg launched a "Ken ve Lo" initiative, attracting over 100 participants to the opening session. The new project features monthly meetings with lively discussions on issues which have been raised recently in the Jewish world.
• Students in the sister cities of Atlanta, Georgia and Minsk, Belarus are taking their annual exchange program to the Internet. In lieu of a trip, throughout the year students at Emory Hillel and Minsk Hillel will "meet" using Skype’s video conference technology. In the first call this past March, students and staff shared updates on their Jewish student life and discussed ways in which they can build on their partnership through joint programming.
2009 Conference of Presidents Leadership Mission
I recently had the privilege to represent Hillel on the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations annual mission in February. The mission, which consisted of visits to both Rome and Israel, proved to be a powerful display of the Jewish community's voice and solidarity for Israel. We heard the Pope's condemnation of Holocaust denial and his plans for an upcoming visit to Israel; we witnessed the profound Zionism of the Jewish community in Rome; we listened to Israel's top leadership describe the impacts of the war in Gaza and of Israeli and American elections; and we strategized on how the Conference's 100 delegates representing 51 American Jewish organizations can collaborate to advocate more effectively for Israel.
It was during the mission that I fully grasped the widespread concern that people express towards growing antagonism of Israel on campuses and among university-aged students worldwide, and the crucial role that Hillel plays in combating this trend. Hillel is uniquely positioned to expose students and the entire university community to the experiences and information that can build a positive Israel association, and to do so at a time when students are at their most intellectually curious.
I am proud that Hillel is leading this charge and that the organized Jewish community is looking to Hillel's continued leadership to stem the tide of anti-Israel sentiment and to broaden all students' understanding of Israel's treasures and complexities.
Stephen Greenberg serves as a Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and as chair of its Development Committee. He is an Executive Committee member of AIPAC and is also a member of the International Board of Governors of Beth Hatefutsoth. Stephen resides in New York City with his wife, Sandra.
Do you want daily updates on Hillel happenings around the world? Then "follow" Aaron Goldberg's postings on Twitter at aaronjgold!
50 Kiev Hillel students celebrated Sholem Aleichem's 150th birthday in the famous Yiddish writer's hometown of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky. The trip was made possible by Limmud FSU and the Kiev office of the Jewish Agency. (read more)
|YOUR GLOBAL IQ?
Yom Ha'atzmaut Sameach!
Q: Israeli scientists created ______ to be a tasty yet healthy snack for couch-potatoes to nosh on while watching TV. Now, this item is a favorite food item world-wide.
b) Chex Mix
c) Cherry Tomatoes
d) Apples See Answer - Bottom of Page
Hillel's International Division
Hillel in Vancouver
Hillel of Greater Toronto
Hillel of Montreal
Hillel in Argentina
Hillel in Israel
Hillel in Russia
Hillel in the United Kingdom
Hillel in Australia
Hillel in CASE
ANSWER: c) Cherry Tomatoes! Cherry tomatoes were designed by a group of scientists from the Weitzman Institute working in cooperation with the Israeli company Zera.