From the Students Themselves: How Hillel Has Made an Impact
Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Hillel at Emory Class of 2021
“Returning from my gap year in Israel, I was eager to build a strong Jewish life on campus. As a First-Year, this community of spectacular students and staff welcomed me. They supported me with learning, social, and leadership opportunities that helped smooth the transition to college. After three amazing years, I can confidently say that Emory Hillel has helped define my college experience. It has provided me both a group of life-long friends as well as the opportunity to grow as a Jewish Leader on campus. Hillel was not only responsible for some of the best Shabbat nights, but also for providing me a Jewish home on campus, diverse programming, and endless opportunities to give back to the Jewish community. It really saddens me that the year got cut off short. We had events like 'Dooley’s (our unofficial school mascot) Bat Mitzvah' planned for March, and we also never had the chance to properly honor our spectacular Jewish seniors. That being said, once school returns, we Emory students will be sure to never take Emory Hillel for granted again. I look forward to seeing how Emory Hillel continues to grow in today’s world, nor could I be more excited to be Co-President of the Emory Hillel Student Board next year. Watch out, 2020-2021."
Hillel at Emory Class of 2021
"My first (and most memorable) Hillel memory was not religious at all; it was a mission trip to do city clean-up in my hometown, Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Growing up, I wasn’t super religious at home; we didn’t go to services or Shabbat dinner every Friday, and if you had asked my family if they thought you would find me at Hillel as often as I’m there now, I’m sure they wouldn’t have believed you. But, when Hurricane Harvey hit in my first semester of my freshman year, I wasn’t really looking for a religious experience. I was looking for a way to give back to my hometown community. Emory Hillel came to me, offering exactly that. I spent about a week doing hurricane cleanup with Emory students that I hadn’t even met before the trip. All we had in common was being Jewish Emory students and wanting to help an in-need city. Throughout the week, I spent time with the most amazing students, and when we returned to campus, I had a new reason to attend Shabbat dinners and Hillel programs: I wanted to see my new friends. Stories like this aren’t rare in the Emory Hillel community. Emory Hillel meets each student where they are. We aren’t just about lively Shabbat meals or excellent Jewish holiday programming. Emory Hillel also plans mission trips, volunteer opportunities, and social programming. And, if there’s a program or topic that a student wants, but doesn’t exist, Emory Hillel wants to find a way to make it happen. There’s truly a place for every Jewish student on campus, no matter level of observance, background or interests. I have found the most meaningful and unexpected friendships, through the most creative and interesting programs and experiences. Emory Hillel has built the most inclusive and exciting community, and I feel lucky every day to be involved with such a special organization."
Hillel at UGA Class of 2020
"Hillel has been one of the biggest influences of my involvement in Jewish life at the University of Georgia. I have been able to build a jewish community away from home filled with comfort and pride for my religion and traditions. The students and staff I have bet have become a huge support system in Athens and constantly remind me of how special and strong we are together. I love everyone at Hillel and couldn’t thank them enough for the love and support I’ve received throughout the last four years. Hillel at UGA will always be a second home to me."
Hillel at KSU Class of 2022
“Being involved in Hillel has allowed me to connect with so many other Jewish students not only on my campus, but also from other schools as well in the Metro Atlanta community. This community has allowed me to feel connected to my Jewish roots as well as being able to easily create lifetime memories with my Jewish friends on campus. While being involved on our student board, I have also learned how to be a better leader to the community. I help out with social media as well as coordinate our campus events, such as Israel Fest. I love being able to help students connect to their Jewish roots on campus, although we are away from home."
Hillel at GSU Class of Fall 2020
“In a world full of adversity, being a Jewish student can be difficult at times. The Jewish community and Hillel of Georgia State University have provided me with endless opportunities that have helped me continue to overcome fears, grow, and understand. Hillel took me in with open arms and has motivated me to continue to strive to be a better leader in my Jewish community.”
Hillel at Georgia Tech Class of 2022
“Hillel has consistently served as a safe space for me and other students to interact and create impactful Jewish memories. The organization helps keep us grounded to our cultural roots while providing meaningful leadership development opportunities. Whether it’s Shabbat rituals, coffee chats or one of the many other events, Hillel never fails to provide exactly what the campus Jewish community is looking for.”
Hillel at Georgia Tech Class of Winter 2020
“Hillel has empowered me to connect to the global Jewish world by engaging with other students and staff, participating in enriching experiences, and forming great friendships in my community. I am grateful for the opportunity Hillel provided me to learn about myself and others and the opportunity to mentor and inspire.”