In June 2014, I had the opportunity to be inspired at the Hillel International Changemakers event. Joined by other Hillel professionals and lay leaders, we gathered in New York City for this incredible program.
One of the true highlights for me was a collaboration between two visionary entities: Eboo Patel, Founder of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), and Hillel's own Ask Big Questions.
In small groups, we listened to Eboo speak about the value of interfaith work as a vehicle for better understanding ourselves and our responsibility in the world. Then, with Eboo's words as our text and Ask Big Questions as our guide, we were able to more deeply explore the question of for whom we are responsible, as individuals and as members of this community.
My ability to be in this room, to participate in this conversation and to be inspired by The Changemakers in the room was only possible because of the Weinberg ACCELERATE Executive Training Program. As a participant in this program, I have received many gifts. I have been given tools with which I am able to excel in my work, resources to help me continually improve, coaching to help keep me accountable, and people from whom I continue to learn and be inspired. But perhaps the greatest gift of ACCELERATE is its broader impact. I was not only personally enriched by hearing Eboo speak in June, but I internalized his message of mutual responsibility and was moved to act. I returned to Loyola Marymount University and began to build strategic partnerships in order to bring Eboo and his vision to campus. As a result, Eboo and the IFYC will be spending the day with LMU next month, underscoring a campus-wide campaign to engage deeply in interfaith cooperation as a vehicle for social change.
ACCERATE has stretched me to see my leadership as a platform to ask the important questions. It was fitting that our last cohort meeting included the Changmakers event this summer, for it as a program is exactly that. It is in itself a changemaker, and inspires its participants to view themselves that way as well.
Rabbi Ilana Schachter is the Hillel Rabbi and Coordinator for Jewish Student Life at Loyola Marymount University (LMU).