Rutgers University junior Elizabeth Foreman and North Carolina Hillel were recognized for their outstanding work in the field of social justice last week by being named Weinberg Tzedek Hillel Exemplars of Excellence. One student and one campus are honored each year with the award at the Charlotte B. and Jack J. Spitzer B'nai B'rith Hillel Forum on Public Policy.
"This year's honorees exemplify all aspects of tikkun olam (repairing the world)," Hillel President Avraham Infeld said. "We are proud of students like Elizabeth and our colleagues at North Carolina Hillel who work so hard to improve their campuses and communities."
One of the premier social-justice activists on her campus, Foreman serves as Rutgers University Hillel's community service director. She was also one of seven students selected from across the United States to alleviate hunger in their communities as MAZON interns. Foreman twice chaired the university-wide "A Day Without Hate" project, which is designed to promote tolerance. She also served as secretary of the Human Development Project, a joint Jewish-Muslim community-service group. In addition, she organized food and clothing drives for Midnight Run, an organization serving the homeless in New York City.
Many North Carolina Hillel programs have been adopted by the university at large. Successful initiatives include creating Students United for Darfur Awareness Now (SUDAN); providing blankets for children in the campus hospital; and partnering with the Interfaith Council for Social Services to establish Project Rush Hour, where students keep a local crisis intervention center open in the evening to serve the working poor who cannot utilize its services during normal business hours.
Framed by the Jewish imperatives of tzedakah (righteousness), gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness) and tikkun olam (repair of the world), Weinberg Tzedek Hillel engages and empowers students in meaningful public service and encourages creative thinking when addressing social-justice issues. Launched in 1999, Weinberg Tzedek Hillel was established through the generous support of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.