Looking to the Future at Leaders Assembly
August 29, 2006Comments (0)
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The 2006 Charles Schusterman International Student Leaders Assembly.
What do you get when you take a group of 200-plus college students consisting of Hillel leaders, campus leaders and Israel advocates and have them spend a week in the mountains of northern Georgia for experiential leadership development? The 2006 Charles Schusterman International Student Leaders Assembly at Camp Ramah Darom in Clayton, Ga., of course.
Representing the United States, Canada, Israel, South America and the former Soviet Union, students at this year’s Leaders Assembly engaged in discussions on the Jewish future and explorations of meaningful Jewish experiences.
“I came to Leaders Assembly with the mindset of finding more programs in order to improve Hofstra University’s Jewish campus life,” said Amanda Graber, a junior at Hofstra University. “Early into the conference I spoke to Clare Goldwater [Hillel’s vice president for Jewish life] who said ‘really look for what the students want and give them Jewish experiences,’ and I realized that by changing the context of campus activities and not having rigid guidelines for Jewish life we can encourage connections in what ever way possible.”
“It was great to learn new things about Judaism with people my age," Julie Schechter, a junior at Wayne State University. “Being a young college student is all about discovering who you are and what you believe. I hope to take what I learned and apply it to my life for my own future.”
While at Leaders Assembly students had the opportunity to participate in one of two tracks, the Exemplar Track and Professional Development Track, according to their role on their respective campuses. Each track enjoyed separate workshops, Jewish learning sessions and small group discussions throughout the week with both coming together for Shabbat.
“The pluralistic nature of Shabbat was really exciting,” said Wendy Miller, a senior at the University of Albany. “Not having grown up in such an environment, I was apprehensive at first, but everyone was so respectful of one another and there was so much spirit and energy. I felt very comfortable.”
Other highlights include:
Discussions on the Jewish future with Wayne Firestone, Hillel's president-elect; Avraham Infeld, Hillel's outgoing president; Lee M. Hendler and Andrew Sklover, members of Hillel’s Board of Directors; Melody Sucharewicz, the winner of the hit Israeli TV show "The Ambassador;" and Gidi Grinstein, founder and president of the Re'ut Institute.
“Create the Future:” an art and text workshop program where Exemplar Track students were encouraged to create their own understanding of various Jewish and non-Jewish texts and concepts both through discussion and artistic expression, including writing, art, dance and music.
Team-building activities for the Professional Development track on the Camp Ramah Darom ropes course.
Performances by Stone Soup Theater Arts, a ten-member volunteer troupe that creates performances with contemporary social themes; slam poet and educator Kevin Coval; and comedian and former "Last Comic Standing" contestant Michele Balan.
The presentation of the 2006 Philip H. and Susan Rudd Cohen Student Exemplar of Excellence Awards to Helaine Alon, University of Vermont; Ben Freedman, Bowdoin College; Amanda Graber, Hofstra Univeristy; Rebecca Steinberger, San Diego State University; and Heather Zidow, University of Texas at Austin.
Training of the 2006-2007 Grinspoon Israel Advocacy Interns who promote Israel activities on 36 campuses across the United States.
The inaugural training session of the Campus Entrepreneur interns, undergraduates employed by Hillel to develop new ways to reach out to their peers and engage them in Jewish campus life.
The 2006 Renaissance Institute, a special-three day seminar that enables Hillel lay leaders to interact with students and participate in their own programming with Hillel professionals and other internationally-known educators. Renaissance Institute was chaired by Hillel volunteer leaders Steven Oppenheimer and Jody Franco.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Hillel President Wayne Firestone
An Alabama Jewish Federation Executive
The Altanta Jewish Times