Students Explore Familiar "Worlds" in India's Tibetan Community
When ten Hillel students from around the world landed in India in July 2009, they were amazed by its exotic sights, sounds and scents.
But after four weeks volunteering with the country's Tibetan community on Hillel's Olamot program, the unknown was eclipsed by an unexpected kinship. (read more)
Hillel Latin America Launches Pilot in Asunción, Paraguay
The Hillel Latin America family got a little bigger over the summer! The newest arrival came in June as Hillel Latin America launched a pilot initiative in Asunción, Paraguay. Akin to the "Small and Mighty" Initiative in the United States, the pilot in Asunción represents the first of Hillel Latin America's efforts to work with Jewish young adults in the region's smaller Jewish communities. (read more)Record Numbers of Jewish Students Choose Jewish Journeys Over Summer Vacations Across the FSU
These days, students in the former Soviet Union have countless options on how to spend their summer break. So when 420 students from across the FSU chose to attend Hillel regional seminars in August 2009, the news made quite a splash. (read more
FORMER SOVIET UNION
• This July, 65 young adults from St. Petersburg Hillel participated in a three day seminar exploring Israel's history and politics. The seminar included guest lecturers, a mock-Knesset, and interactive debates on current events.
• 40 Hillel Moscow students helped lead Rosh Hashanah activities across Moscow's four largest synagogues. Students also gathered to explore the theme of forgiveness at a local café and write related letters to friends and family.
• 18 volunteers from Tbilisi Hillel organized camps this July for children and families of Gori, a Georgian region affected by the August 2008 Russia/Georgia conflict.
• Two months of Holocaust education culminated in a special five-day trip for 40 students of Kharkov Hillel. During this trip, students visited the powerful sites of their studies and restored Jewish cemeteries.
• Hillel Argentina organized a second Rosh Hashanah dinner for 57 students, including over 40 students studying abroad in Buenos Aires.
• Students from Paraguay planted over 50 trees as part of an initiative to educate young people about environmentalism.
•11 North American Hillel students spent the summer in Montevideo on Hillel Uruguay’s Spanish program. These students attended Spanish classes and became part of the local community during their stay.
• In celebration of Rosh Hashanah, Hillel centers at Sapir College, Tel Aviv University, and the Interdisciplinary Center-Herzliya brought fresh air and fresh ideas to 35 young adults at a joint rooftop Jewish learning session exploring the topic of repentance.
• Hebrew University Hillel student Asaf Kliger held an art exhibit to raise public awareness of the plight of refugees from Darfur and Eritrea in Israel. The art work was on display at a downtown cultural center throughout July.
• Inspired by a recent concert, Sapir Hillel hosted a Leonard Cohen Marathon on September 21. The event, which included films and lectures about the artist, attracted over 200 students.
• Hillel Australia launched a new engagement initiative dubbed YBJ ("Why Be Jewish"), which engaged over 100 new students in its first semester and aims to attract another 200 students over the next year.
• Over 50 newly involved Jewish students packed a downtown café in September for a night of laughs with Jewish-Australian comic Austen Tayshus.
• 20 students were selected to exhibit at an upcoming art show co-sponsored by Hillel and AUJS that will showcase the rich artistic talent of New South Wales’s Jewish university students.
Student Reflection: Trip to Poland Becomes Personal Journey for Hillel Rio Student
Ilana Reznik, a Hillel student activist from Rio de Janeiro, recently completed a trip to Poland on Hillel Rio's Holocaust education program, Yad Vaed. Ilana joined 31 of her peers from around the region in this two-week trip to visit sites and survivors from the Shoah. She reflects on her experience below.
But why would you want to do that? This was the question I was asked again and again before participating in Yad Vaed. For some people, the past is like a grandmother who lives far away: it's something you don't need to visit often if it's difficult. However, for me, the past is a place that has always belonged to me, no matter how late I arrived there. So my answer to that question, my reason for taking this difficult journey, was to experience the past--to encounter my history and to become even more Jewish.
After months of preparatory studies, our group finally arrived in Poland in July. The first camp we visited was Treblinka, an empty space that could be filled with imagination or disappointment. For me, it was the latter. Treblinka was just a big green space. Not even my friends sobbing around me affected me. I thought: there is nothing here. No gas chambers, no horror, no cremation ovens, no bunk beds where 5 people slept on top of one another. Neither the rocks nor the grass made me feel more Jewish. I felt nothing.
But this changed over the course of the trip. As we visited other camps, synagogues, cemeteries, streets, stores, I started to feel the power of the trip stirring inside me. It was a gradual building, but on the last day I experienced something incredible. Our final day in Poland, we visited the Janus Korczak orphanage. Korczak, a Polish-Jewish doctor, maintained a shelter for more than 200 children inside the Warsaw Ghetto. Visiting the shelter, I saw parallels to Treblinka: the shelter was also an empty space, just that instead of Treblinka's green grass it had wooden floors, and instead of rocks the shelter had plaster walls.
But within my first minutes inside this place, I felt an uncontrollable emotion. I began to fill that empty space with small chairs, games spread on the floor, children running around, playing, smiling, and living. I was overcome with the emotions, the history, the feeling of it all.
But how could this empty space, a space so much like the other I had just visited, how could this have such an impact on me? That's when I finally understood. I didn't go on Yad Vaed to become "more Jewish." I went to become more human.
And this I achieved.
Local and study abroad students gathered at Hillel Argentina to bake Rosh Hashanah treats for members of Buenos Aires's Jewish community.
|YOUR GLOBAL IQ?
Q: What country with a Hillel ends its Daylight Savings time earliest in the world?
d) UruguaySee Answer - Bottom of Page
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ANSWER: b) Israel! As of 2005, Israel's Daylight Savings Time ends on the Sunday before Yom Kippur. Rumor has it, the date was set in order to shorten the Yom Kippur fast!