Hillel Student to Hillel Professional
Updated: Aug 27
By Molly Auerbach, Hillel at Emory '20
When I entered college, being a part of the Jewish community at Emory was a must for me, non-negotiable. However, college was the first time that Judaism wasn’t directly handed to me — I really had to want to express my Judaism. Growing up in a traditional Jewish family, I attended Jewish day school all 13 years before college and went to Camp Ramah in California every summer — each an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.
As a nervous Emory University freshman, I was overwhelmed with choices on campus. I decided to attend Orientation Shabbat and the Emory Hillel bagel brunch with my parents to try to find comfort during this scary, transitional period of my life — I quickly got roped in. After realizing all the good that Hillel could bring to my life, I immediately decided to apply for the First-Year Council, a freshmen board that is a steppingstone to the Executive Board. My acceptance to this leadership opportunity was the first of many for me during my time at Emory.
My incredible experience on First-Year Council inspired my decision to join the executive board in my sophomore year as one of the two First-Year Engagement Chairs. Together, we worked to create an atmosphere where freshmen felt at home with Hillel, just as we experienced and my co-chair quickly became my best friend in college.
When I traveled for Birthright as a sophomore, my love for Hillel grew even stronger. I gained immense knowledge from the Israel fellow on the program and my passion for the holy land intensified. Whether it was my trip to Israel with Hillel or a simple “Tasty Tuesday” dinner at the Hillel building, I was constantly looking forward to the next time I would see my beloved Hillel staff members or my best friends that I made at Hillel. My weekly schedules began revolving around Hillel.
My next steps naturally followed; I loved being on the executive board so much during my sophomore year that I became vice president as a junior. And after being a part of The Nachshon Project (a leadership program geared towards potential future Jewish professionals) during my junior year studying abroad in Jerusalem, I made the decision to round my college experience off as the executive board president during my final year at Emory.
Hillel made me realize my truest passion – making an impact on the Jewish community and on the world at large. As I began thinking about my next steps in the fall of senior year, there was no question that I wanted to work in the Jewish communal world. When I heard about the Hillel Springboard Fellowship, it sounded like a dream come true! I was excited at the prospect of combining my love for Hillel work, meeting new students and giving them a home away from home, all while getting paid. After a lengthy application and interview process, I was offered a job as the Springboard Innovation Fellow at UCLA, the place I had envisioned myself all along.
I simply could not be more excited to start my post-grad professional career at UCLA Hillel. I feel especially thankful that during this coronavirus pandemic, I have a sense of certainty in what seems like a world filled with unknowns. Had I not gotten so involved with Hillel during my freshman year, I am fairly certain I would not be in the position I am today, feeling so dedicated to spreading my love for Judaism to the many generations ahead of me so that the Jewish people can continue to flourish and thrive.