Spring Break, Hillel style



April 24, 2017

This spring, local Hillels from the United States sent more than 30 delegations of students and professionals on Alternative Spring Breaks to volunteer and serve local communities during school vacation. The Hillel groups volunteered at sites all around the world, from New York to Guatemala to Germany to Uganda. Check out highlights of some of those trips below.

Penn State Hillel: Honduras

This group traveled to La Colonia, Honduras, where they built steps alongside homes to help locals move around more easily. While there, the Penn State Hillel delegation built 150 steps and fed locals—for some of them, it was their only meal that day.

UMass Hillel: Mississippi

UMass Hillel traveled to the South for Alternative Spring Break, and helped a group of second graders complete at puzzle at Jackson State University.

Virginia Tech: Cuba

Virginia Tech Hillel students volunteered at a farm in Trinidad, Cuba planting guava trees. They also met with historians and professors to learn about Jewish Cuban history, and toured Havana’s historical sites including an Ashkenazi cemetery, Old Havana, Hotel Nacional and a Cuban synagogue.

MSU Hillel: Orlando

MSU Hillel students participated on Give Kids the World for their Alternative Spring Break. While there, students worked at a theme park to provide fun experiences for kids with terminal illnesses and their families. The students operated rides, delivered food to the kids’ rooms and face painted the children.

SF Hillel: Brooklyn

San Francisco Hillel students volunteered at Mosabia Soup Kitchen, Free Minds and Hunger Free America while in Brooklyn for their Alternative Spring Break. Students engaged in conversation about Jews and the civil rights movement, and how they can be allies today.

Santa Cruz Hillel: Guatemala

Santa Cruz Hillel students spent their spring break learning how to repurpose items such as plastic wrappers, bottles and tires to build a school from sustainable materials in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala.

Northwestern Hillel: Krakow and Berlin

The Northwestern Hillel group spent a morning at Auschwitz and Birkenau, and an afternoon exploring modern Jewish life with the JCC in Krakow. In Berlin, this delegation visited the Holocaust Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie and areas of the Berlin Wall.

Harvard Hillel: Oaxaca, Mexico

Harvard Hillel students spent a week in Oaxaca, Mexico, where they built a swing set for a pre-school in the community of Pluma Hidalgo.