I cannot imagine what my time at Stony Brook University would have been like without Hillel.
Before I began college, finding a Jewish community was not on my agenda. However, after participating in Maimonides, a weekly Jewish class given by ROOTS, a partner of Hillel, I can safely say my life had changed. Although I was originally enticed by the stipend offered by this program, I left with things exponentially more valuable. I met lifelong friends and I found my Jewish spirit.
I have come a long way since my connection with Judaism was sparked. I now keep Shabbat and I am heavily involved in Jewish life. Hillel has played a crucial role in this. Two years ago, when my friends who were on the Hillel board encouraged me to come to the meetings, I was skeptical. I was a busy pre-med student, and few things seemed as important as my studies.
As soon as I walked into a meeting, I immediately felt a sense of community that at the time I was struggling to find. However, I was most compelled by the immense potential of the Hillel Student Club. We had the support to pursue any vision we had, whether it be community service, growing Jewishly, or building the Jewish community on campus. Over time, I naturally grew more involved in Hillel. I was a Member at Large, and most recently, the Treasurer. Hillel was a consistent outlet through which I could bring my ideas to fruition. Through Hillel, I grew more confident in my ability to impact lives on and off campus.
Hillel is my family at Stony Brook University. The staff members became my mentors and assisted me through all types of hardships a college student may go through, be they academic or personal. Hillel will continue to be my family wherever I may go from here. Its impact on my life has been significant, and I want other Stony Brook University students to have the same experience. I will give back to Hillel after graduation because I know how important it is for students in Hillel to have the resources to fulfill their goals, like I did mine.
Tzvia Pinkhasov ‘14 was the 2014 student treasurer of Stony Brook University Hillel.