With Israel in mind, I painted the snake trail, which leads to the top of Masada.



November 27, 2018

“Before attending Virginia Tech, I visited the Malcom Rosenberg Hillel Center and it really spoke to me when I saw the building and was greeted by the extremely friendly staff. When I chose to attend Virginia Tech, I knew Hillel was going to be my home away from home. Upon visiting, I met the Executive Director Sue Kurtz. Throughout my college career, she has served as a mentor, not only in my Jewish values and lifestyle, but also in my development as an artist. Sue is a talented artist herself, and it was her idea to commission Hillel’s very own life-size Hokie Bird statue to be displayed at the building. Virginia Tech has 40 Hokie Birds placed all around the campus of Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, VA. These birds are painted with different themes. When I was creating the design concept for my Hokie Bird, I thought back to one of my favorite memories as a college student. That memory was going to Israel on my Birthright Israel trip when I was a sophomore. With Israel in my mind, I decided to paint the front of the bird with a picture of the snake trail which leads to the top of Masada. For the back, I decided to paint a sunset over the city of Jerusalem. To me, the bird serves as a way to combine Judaism with Virginia Tech and the Hokie Bird with Hillel. This is the ultimate way to connect my passion for art with Judaism, Hillel and Virginia Tech.” — Shoshana Levenson, Virginia Tech ’19