Pnina Gaday and Sarah Chasin.
Pnina Gaday, the first Ethiopian Jew to head a Hillel, will be among the Hillel speakers to address United Jewish Communities General Assembly sessions in Nashville, Tennessee. Pnina will speak as part of a prestigious plenary session on the final day of the conference that may also feature former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
Pnina, who arrived in Israel at the age of three, became a Hillel student activist at Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she created many innovative programs on Ethiopain culture. After graduation, she became program director at the Hillel until her appointment as executive director of the Tel Aviv University Hillel this year.
George Washington University student and Hillel activist Sarah Chasin will also address a plenary session. Sarah credits Hillel with inspiring her career path which, in 2006, took a sharp turn after she returned from Hillel’s Alternative Spring Break in Gulfport, Mississippi. There, Sarah and hundreds of other Hillel students experienced the post-Katrina devastation firsthand. The trip had such a profound effect on Sarah that she took a year off from school and moved to Gulfport to lend support to the community. During that year, she coordinated sustainable service efforts and service learning programming at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Her work developed into an interest in the effects of natural disaster on public health. Now a junior at GWU, Sarah is working toward a degree in Public Health. She plans to work in the global health industry after graduation. Sarah will speak at the morning GA plenary on Monday, November 12.
Hillel will be well represented among GA delegates with more than 200 students in attendance. The students represent 57 schools in more than 120 communities. In addition to participating in all GA sessions, Hillel students will enjoy special programs including a private screening of Academy Award-winning film “West Bank Story” followed by a reception with its producer Ari Sandel on Sunday evening and a reception with Grammy Award-winning hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari on Monday evening. Students will also have a number of professional networking opportunities with Hillel leaders including President Wayne L. Firestone who has been selected as the “Forward 50” most influential Jews in America for the past two years. An optional social action program organized by Vanderbilt Hillel will also be offered on Sunday morning.
The UJC GA, the most prestigious annual gathering of the North American Jewish community, brings together Jewish federation volunteers, professionals and partner agency leaders from across the continent. For more information about the GA, visit www.ujc.org