World-renowned sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer
joined 500 Hillel professionals from around the world in urging college students to be passionateâ€¦ about Israel.
Dr. Ruth joined Hillel Interim President Avraham Infeld and Rabbi Seth Mandell
, a former Hillel director whose son was slain by terrorists, as keynote speakers at Hillel's International Professional Staff Conference in Princeton, N.J. Dr. Ruth will serve as the honorary chair of Hillel's new "love is real" pro-Israel campaign.
The four-day conference, titled "Creating Leadership in Challenging Times," brought together professionals from North America, Israel, the former Soviet Union and Latin America. Participants attended plenums, workshops, and interactive sessions on topics ranging from dealing with anti-Semitism on campus, to integrating the arts in Hillel work, to traditional Jewish texts.
The conference included the release of data from the 2000 National Jewish Population Survey on trends among Jewish college students; an address by Israeli author Amos Oz; and Hillel's State of the Movement Address by Hillel Interim President Avraham Infeld.
In his State of the Movement Address, Interim President Infeld recapped the many Hillel accomplishments in the last six months. He presented a special award to the staff of Rutgers Hillel for their outstanding program "Israel Inspires," and to Hillel Associate Vice President Rabbi Yossie Goldman for creating Hillel in the former Soviet Union. Infeld also praised departing staff member Rhoda Weisman for her work as Chief Creative Officer and as founding director of the Center for Jewish Engagement, which administers the Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps, among other projects.
Hillel also bade fond farewell to Rabbi Jim Diamond, the executive director of the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University, who is retiring after 35 years as a Hillel professional.
The conference provided an opportunity to recognize outstanding Hillel professionals and groups. Hillel named seven people as Richard M. Joel Exemplars of Excellence: University of Wisconsin Assistant Director Jamie Berman; Texas Hillel Executive Director David Kessel; Russian Hillel Executive Director Anna Purinson; Hillel Argentina Executive Director Gabriel Trajtenberg; New Orleans Hillel Jewish Student Life Coordinator Kathryn Saffro; University of Pennsylvania Hillel Assistant Director Rachel Saifer-Goldman; Tufts University Hillel Executive Director Jeffrey Summit; and UC Berkeley Hillel Director Adam Weisberg.
Hillel awarded the Haber Award for outstanding programming to Stanford University Hillel for Camp Kesem; Hillel at the University of Florida for Gators for Israel Bonds; Hillel Council of New England for the Literacy Corps; the University of Maryland, College Park for the Jewish Leadership Council; Tufts University for Patches for Peace. Receiving Honorable Mention were:
University of Pittsburgh for Yetzirah: Student Arts Programming; Hillel at Broward and Palm Beach for I Love Israel--Now More Than Ever; and Hillel of Greater Baltimore for its Lecture Series Symposium.
The Eli Wiesel Award for outstanding arts and culture programs was give to Boston University Hillel for Visas for Life: The Story of Righteous Diplomats. The Wiesel Honorable Mention went to University of Mass, Amherst for Crossing Cultures: The Afro-Semitic Experience; and to Oberlin College for Yom HaShoah: Remembrance through Music, Film and Art.