We asked Hillel professionals to share with us what brings them joy and light in their celebration of Hanukkah this year. Here’s what they said:
And yet, on September 22, 2022, I became the first person ever to blow the shofar at the Vice President’s residence, the Naval Observatory. This is an honor I will be proud of for the rest of my life. (My parents are proud, too.) I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to have attended the interfaith Rosh Hashanah event, and I feel immensely proud of myself for completing the task of blowing the shofar in such exciting—and intimidating—conditions.
From service-oriented programs like Reverse Tashlich to apples and honey taste tests to a variety of traditional and creative services, Hillel students and staff members have been celebrating growth, joy, and wellness in the new year.
A piece of Jewish history has been uprooted from Amsterdam and planted in Iowa City. One sapling grown from an old chestnut tree — which stood outside of the secret annex where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary — was planted at University of Iowa.
Passover has always been our gateway to come together. A way to see how everyone has grown. But as I neared college, I knew that my seder was going to look different. At least temporarily. I needed to give myself space to find new Passover traditions with my Jewish community on campus.
Family recipes, passed down from generation to generation, bring me closer to my Persian roots.
Growing up, I thought my Jewish and Japanese identities conflicted. When I was in a Jewish setting, there never seemed to be any Japanese people, and when I was in a Japanese setting, there never seemed to be any Jewish people. I felt in-between worlds. Then, I learned about the power of intersectionality.
My family is Mizrahi, meaning my Jewish ancestors lived in Western Asia and North Africa. I can trace my roots back to Bukhara, Persia, and Yemen.
Students from across the Hillel movement and various cultures share their family recipes for the Seder plate essential. Just as different ingredients come together to create this valuable and delicious dish, so too do Hillel students to create meaningful Jewish communities on campus.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how Purim commemorates the survival of Jews who were marked for death. How many of us have felt that ominous shadow hanging over us, over our communities this last year? There were times when we thought anyone who went outside was asking to get sick and die.