By Amy (Dobin) Yosowitz, Emory '98
Our tiny house was where the current 1525 Clifton Health building is, but we soon moved to a different tiny house on Haygood near Druid Hills High School. Emory was about one-third Jewish at that time, but there was only a small group active in Jewish life and programming on campus. Over the next few years, a dedicated group of Jewish students, along with the small staff of the then-Atlanta YAD (The Jewish Young Adult Agency – now Hillels of Georgia), built up the program to be strong and pluralistic.
We started the Ocoee white water rafting trips at the beginning of the school year to bring everyone together again and bring new freshmen into the fold. We focused on big events – bringing in famous speakers like Ben & Jerry (there was leftover ice cream in the YAD house freezer for months!) and Art Spiegelman, throwing huge Hanukkah bashes, planning a series of events during Holocaust Remembrance Week. We increasingly took up more and more space in the DUC (Dobbs University Center) conference rooms every Friday night with Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform services (and a once a month Shabbat dinner). Hillel was my home at Emory, and I was proud to serve as president during the 1997-98 school year. It is amazing to see how it has grown by leaps and bounds every year since then.
I was there as an alum 10 years ago when the Marcus Hillel Center had its grand opening weekend, thinking back to when having a new facility where Jewish students could gather was little more than a pipe dream. Now – Shabbat dinner every week! And it’s free for students! A multi-fold increase in Jewish organizations, with focuses on Jews in health and other career paths, Greek Life, and even a Jewish a cappella group. A huge expansion of Hillels of Georgia staff, as well as a deepened connection to Hillel International, has helped Emory Hillel achieve more and more engagement and offerings, particularly in the area of Israel programming. While I wouldn’t trade my Hillel experience and friendships for anything, I must admit I am a little jealous of the amount and diversity of programming in place for Emory Jewish students today. I’m crossing my fingers that my kids get to be a part of it in Emory’s classes of 2030 and 2032!
-Amy (Dobin) Yosowitz, Emory class of 1998, Tempe, Arizona