In the Mishnah Sukkah, it is written, “During the whole seven days of Sukkot, one makes his sukkah permanent, and his house becomes temporary (2:9).” This past summer at Mechon Hadar, an egalitarian educational institution in New York City, eighteen Hillel professionals and Hannah Rosenberg, our new Engagement/Jewish Life Coordinator, made the loud, welcoming space on Amsterdam Avenue feel like a home.
“The greatest obstacle to learning is thinking you know everything already and at Mechon Hadar, I was reminded of how much more we have to learn," Hannah said. "Through our chevruta and our Hillel at Hadar cohort, we searched to find a balance between bringing Torah back to our campuses, and feeling authentic in our own understanding and conversations.”
But the learning didn’t stop after one week. Hannah is also a recipient of the Ezra Fellowship through Hillel International’s Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Education. Named after Ezra, the ancient scribe and priest who revolutionized Jewish life by reading Torah aloud to the people, the goal of the Fellowship is to bring Jewish content conversations, experiential Jewish education, and “back-pocket Torah” to the students. Through this Fellowship, Hannah will be trained in pluralistic Jewish education, including immersive Jewish learning, seminars in experiential education, and retreats with innovative organizations like Mechon Hadar, Pardes, and Yeshiva University. So far this year, Hannah attended a retreat after Hillel Institute, enjoyed webinars with her cohort of 30 other Hillel professionals, and facilitated two student text study events in the Klehr Center.
“Other generations and generations of voices have struggled with the same conversation and the same text as us. Where are we in this long Jewish narrative? The Ezra Fellowship doesn’t just educate us about the Torah, but turns us all into better resources for our students. As I continue my journey at F&M Hillel in my new role, I am thrilled to bring authentic Torah to the students, and with me a sukkah to help them turn college and Hillel into their temporary home.”