It’s not just trees that grow in Vermont! University of Vermont’s Jewish student life has been growing and flourishing this year with programs and spaces that nourish students’ bodies and voices.
On June 25, I was awarded the title of Miss Wyoming 2022, becoming the first Jewish woman with that honor in the 101 years of the program. This December, I will go on to compete for the title of Miss America. If I win, I will become only the second Jewish woman in history to be named Miss America. My personal icon, Bess Myerson, won the Miss America title in 1945 during the height of the Holocaust.
As I’ve continued on my journey, I’ve discovered the importance of creating a space where students of all backgrounds and practices can be Jewish together. Judaism was made accessible to me throughout my first few semesters of college, allowing me to learn and grow Jewishly, and it has been such a rewarding experience to create a space for others to do the same.
Hillel seniors are preparing to cross the graduation stage this summer. Meet the soon-to-be college graduates who say the Hillel effect lasts long after they leave campus.
A pop-up art exhibit at Brown/RISD Hillel fostered connectivity between Jewish art lovers, and inspired more students to envision their work on the gallery walls. Motivated by the success, the Hillel has since organized two other art exhibits featuring depictions of Jewish spiritual objects created by more than 30 students.
Penn Hillel students are comforting people in need of healing — one teddy bear at a time. Audrey Singer, 21, and Aden Horowitz, 21, founded Mishe Bear, a startup that sells plush teddy bears to provide comfort to those who are ill. Each bear holds a customizable note and a heart-shaped card containing the “Mi Sheberach,” a Jewish prayer of healing.
Florida Hillels have found an incredibly successful — and delicious — way to counter antisemitism on college campuses. “Spread Cream Cheese, Not Hate,” which originated at University of Florida Hillel in 2020, spreads awareness about antisemitism. The event is simple: Sign a petition against antisemitism and receive a fresh bagel and T-shirt.
At Hillel, I learned to walk into a room as my whole self, never leaving part of my identity behind. I was finally Jewish enough. For so many years, I created walls because I came from an interfaith family. Hillel taught me that my intersectionality was an asset in Jewish spaces, as it taught me to be open-minded, understanding, and compassionate.
The “Jeopardy! National College Championship” featured 36 college students who went head-to-head for a $250,000 prize. Read about a handful of Jewish contestants who connected with their faith during the game.
The ROTC becomes doubly challenging for Jewish students, who often experience isolation during service. That’s why Fishler and Bergen readily agreed to spearhead a new ROTC cohort that brings together Jewish student members from all over the country.