Peace, peoplehood and tolerance are central to the hopes of Hillel student activists as they look forward to the future in the 2010 Hillel Annual Report, “Faces of the Future.” The Annual Report profiles students from around the globe who share their vision for their Jewish future.
The students range from a member of College Republicans from Tampa, to a dental student from Rio de Janeiro, to an engineering student from Yekaterinburg, Russia. They all hope for a Jewish future in which their children will enjoy the resources of a flourishing Jewish community free from fear and prejudice.
Tolerance within the Jewish community and in the world at large is important to these students., Noam Weinblatt, a student at the University of Maryland, writes, “I look forward to a future in which the Jewish community will celebrate its ethnic and ideological diversity free from animosity, when groups can sit together and express their vision with an open mind without hostility and anger.”
University of South Florida student Aryiel Peitzer adds, “My vision for the Jewish future is that Jews all over the world will not be scared to show pride in their heritage or religion. It may be wishful thinking, but I hope that Jews, Muslims, and Christians can live side by side without wars and live happily in peace.”
UC Berkeley student Brian Chaskes says, “I take pride in the global Jewish community and wish to see a world united in peace in my lifetime. Big hopes, but there are so many people out there trying to make a difference in the world — one can only hope.”
University of Arizona student Meryl Press, an adopted Asian Jew, says that as a child she “was afraid that others would judge me, that I would not be accepted, that I wouldn’t be considered ‘Jewish enough.’” She credits Hillel with giving her the freedom to explore her Jewish identity in a supportive environment. Today, she is a Hillel student leader who writes about issues of Jewish identity and tikkun olam. “Through my exploration of these subjects, I have dreamed about a Jewish future in which there is a greater amount of acceptance, a shared sense of community, and a mutual goal to create a more perfect world,” she says.
Global Jewish peoplehood is high on the priority list for University of Wisconsin, Madison student Rachel Racoosin. “I believe that it is up to the next generation of Jewish leaders to establish worldwide programs that bring awareness to the importance of a strong global Jewish community,” says Racoosin. “Through Jewish education, the Jewish identity of the global community will thrive. I hope that in the future all Jewish students around the world will enjoy the same access to Jewish educational opportunities that we have in North America.”
Alisa Goshtein of Yekaterinburg, Russia, adds: “We must remember that we are all part of one united, global people. I want my children to know the Jewish culture and to be part of the Jewish community. I think this feeling will last for all my life. The Jews have a great history but I believe that the best is yet to come.”
The Annual Report also features the highlights of the Hillel year, including new facilities, advances in peer engagement techniques, Israel engagement, education and advocacy work, and a full listing of major benefactors.