With yet another busy semester coming to a close, Hillel is slowing down as the classes and finals are finishing up. We use this time to not only to catch our breath, but also to reflect on the past semester. As the year closes, and some of our students move on to bigger and better things, we would like to use this issue of the newsletter to thank them by reflect on the past, as well as to show how past students brought their Judiasm into their future.
We hope everyone had a meaningful Passover, and we look forward to being in touch with you again soon!
Ralph & Rebecca
At the beginning of April, Hillel and the Klehr Center for Jewish Life Board of Directors tried something new, a Phone-A-Thon dedicated to Hillel and the Center! We had about 15 students calling from the Klehr Center for Jewish Life, and there were alumni and volunteers calling from New York City and their homes throughout the nation.
It was our first try and it was very successful, we hope to do it again. Did we miss you? A lot of people were not home that night, but if you would like to contribute to this year’s Phone-A-Thon efforts, please feel free to do so at giving web site. We hope to catch you next time!
This semester, our community had the chance to reflect back on the past 5 years of having the Klehr Center for Jewish Life as Hillel's home. Chelsea Berg '15 discribes how the students decided to celebrate this big milestone!
"To say that the Klehr Center has grown to become a second home to me is a bit of an understatement. It was one of my first stops when I toured F&M, came for A Closer Look, and visited one last time prior to my freshman year as I came for Beginnings. I owned Franklin & Marshall Hillel gear before I sported any real Diplomats clothing. Knowing that the Klehr Center has been such a dynamic part of my college life, I thought the best way to give back would be to become a member of Hillel’s “Birthday Committee” beginning in January.
We had weekly meetings from January on, preparing for March 28, which we deemed, typically, as “Birthday Shabbat!” We, as a committee, thought that this would be the best way to hold a traditional event with an exciting twist with our fellow students to celebrate and recognize the Klehr Center for Jewish Life’s fifth birthday. Considering I am a junior, I was not around for the construction and opening of the building, but I can truly see what sort of a difference it has made for both Hillel at F&M as an organization and for the students at this school. A beautiful building that hosts events, speakers, classrooms, religious services, and so much more, the Klehr Center has become a safe haven for students like myself to explore Judaism as a college student, and has helped me to find my family away from home.
In honor of this occasion and to commemorate the growth of the building itself and Hillel at Franklin & Marshall, we decorated the walls of the multi-purpose room with photographs and posters from the past 5 years in the format of a timeline. When we were done, it looked absolutely magnificent. To see how far we have come since 2008 is astonishing. I am so proud to call myself a member of such a strong and meaningful group of students. The Shabbat event ended up having a great turnout. Students of all different races, religions, and backgrounds attended. I believe that this in itself shows one of my favorite aspects of the Klehr Center. It is a home that welcomes in anybody who enters its doors, no matter who they are or where they come from.
All in all, the event was a pleasant success. The food was scrumptious as always, the challah was sprinkled and tasty, and everyone was surprised but excited to see that there was a “party favor” at the end of the night (We gave out commemorative nalgene water bottles… trust me when I say it made all those who were not in attendance jealous)! As this school year comes to an end, though, and I prepare to embark on my senior year of college, I hope to continue watching Hillel thrive and change the lives of students the way it changed mine. Looking forward to returning for the 10th birthday party!"
As we say so long to the Class of 2014, it is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye. While we are sad to see them go, we know they will do wonderful things in their future, and cannot wait to hear of where life will take them. Liora Cohen-Fraade '14 is one such student. Below is a little taste of where she is off to next!
"I am really looking forward to participating next year in Avodah, the Jewish Service Corps. As an Avodah DC corps member I will be working at CAIR (Capital Area Immigrant Rights) Coaltion as an AmeriCorps Immigration Paralegal. I will work largely with immigrant detainees to help them apply for various forms of asylum and relief in the U.S, as well as other immigrants to ensure they have the tools to advocate for themselves or seek assistance. I will live in an Avodah communal house with other corps members, and participate in activities and learning on the weekends focused on themes of social justice and Judaism. Everything over the past four years, including my involvement with Hillel and time on board has led me to this fellowship. While I will miss F&M, and of course Hillel, I will look back fondly on my time here and come back and visit, since DC is so close!"
While we focus so much as to how Judaism looks and is experienced on campus, it is nice to remember that there is life, and Judaism outside of college. Andrea Deck '12 shines light into how F&M Hillel transitioned her from college life into the professional world and beyond.
"Bringing Hillel into my life after college happened in more ways than I expected. After studying abroad my Junior year at F&M, I returned discontent with my career plan due to my wonderful connections with the Argentine Jewish community. I had turned to Hillel alumni and leadership for guidance, and found more support and ideas than I had anticipated. I quickly began a minor in religious studies at the suggestion of trusted Hillel alumni and met with a variety of recruitment officers and graduate school officials through Hillel events and networking. Upon graduation, I was excited to be embarking on a dual degree between the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University School of Social Work to pursue two masters degrees supporting a career in Jewish Communal Services.
What are Jewish Communal Services? A vague term which refers to professionally educating those offering pastoral care, social work services in Jewish nursing homes, programming staff at Jewish Community Centers, and administration at Federation and Hillel across the country. After a year in the program, I returned to Hillel for the advice I knew I could count on. I am now embarking on a four-year fellowship with the Jewish Federation of North America for administration in social services through the Federation system. Not only is Judaism a part of my personal life, I am now professionally helping open the doors to Judaism for those who feel less engaged. Although we look to the Pew study to tell us that Millennials are not engaged with Jewish life, I am taking this as a call to arms in my Jewish life. I have brought my Hillel education and support into my career to help young adults, interfaith families and disabled Jews of all ages to be able to engage in the community.
Hillel was not only where I began to engage in Judaism and communal practice, but also a jumping off point to a career in professional Jewish life. I also return to F&M Hillel frequently to ground myself and receive the advice I know I can rely on. As I begin my professional career as a social worker and Jewish Communal Professional, I can only start to see how F&M Hillel has dramatically shaped my life, but I look forward to see where it takes me."