In 1978, when I was a freshman at University of Wisconsin, Madison, I lived in a dorm that was half a block away from what was then called the Hillel House. Hillel was my primary connection to Judaism and Jewish practice those first few years of college.
My story begins with other people’s stories; namely, my grandmother’s. I was born in Rishon L’Tzion a few years after my family emigrated from Belarus to Israel, and I spent the first eight years of my life listening to my grandmother share her memories. Her stories from life in the Soviet Union were poignant and became part of my identity and sense of self.
When I found myself in the midst of a global pandemic while caring for a medically-complex newborn, I was eager to find a way to help others through this challenging time.
My family’s path to the United States was grounded in strength and perseverance. After escaping persecution and antisemitism, my parents immigrated to the United States in the ‘90s as refugees from Uzbekistan.
Throughout my gap year in Israel, I took the train weekly to Jerusalem for Hebrew lessons with my Safta, my grandmother. Safta’s family emigrated from Morocco to Israel during World War II, as antisemitic propaganda plagued northern Africa. The political and financial instability of that time meant that university wasn’t an option for my Safta. […]
I recently traveled to Austin for Texas Advocacy Day, where I served as a group leader and lobbied four Texas lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws. Before entering the Capitol building, I listened to a fourth grade student and her teacher tell their stories about the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022.
Named after my grandfather and King Solomon, my name’s etymology piqued my curiosity from a young age. Judaism teaches that given names are significant in shaping the qualities we embody, so I set out to learn more about my namesakes. My name represents my Venezuelan and Jewish heritage and identities, and keeps me grounded in […]
There’s no one playbook for growing up, establishing your independence, and finding confidence in yourself. While each person takes their own path, mine led directly through Hillel.
Hillel is turning 100! In honor of this milestone and to mark the launch of the Hillel Alumni Network, we asked alumni from throughout Hillel’s rich history to share their memories with us. We’ve compiled their memories into a Hillel Scrapbook and are excited to share these excerpts with you:
It was the first day of move-in for my first year at University of Maryland, College Park. My dad helped me move into my dorm and then, to my complete shock, dropped me off at Maryland Hillel with the firm suggestion, “Go make friends.” I was terrified until I walked in and started meeting the […]